Study: China Ahead of US in Emerging Technology Competition

Study: China Ahead of US in Emerging Technology Competition
Photo by Bermix Studio / Unsplash

China leads in 37 out of 44 critical and emerging technologies, including space, energy, AI, and biotechnology, surpassing the United States, Reuters reported based on a security think tank study.

According to a study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and funded by the U.S. State Department, China has established itself as a leading country in various fields, with all of the world's top 10 research institutions in some sectors based in China.

The study found that while the U.S. led global research in high-performance computing, quantum computing, small satellites, and vaccines, it ranked second in the majority of 44 technologies examined.

Meanwhile, government programs have helped China to achieve a remarkable advantage in high-impact research, the study showed.

The report urged for greater research investment and more international collaboration on secure supply chains, by noting that "western democracies are losing the global technological competition, including the race for scientific and research breakthroughs.”

ASPI monitored the most frequently cited scientific papers, which are more likely to result in patents, and stated that China's unexpected achievement in hypersonic missiles in 2021 would have been identified earlier if China's extensive research had been noticed, Reuters reported.

China's strong research in the fields of photonic sensors and quantum communication could lead to it becoming undetectable by Western intelligence, including the "Five Eyes" alliance of the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The report also identified risks of monopoly due to national talent flows and highlighted that China may have a monopoly in 10 fields, including synthetic biology, where it conducts one-third of all research, as well as electric batteries, 5G, and nano-manufacturing.

China is leading the global 5G race with more than 2.31 million 5G base stations around the country.

China has also consolidated its position as a major manufacturing power with an extensive cyber presence and 41 major industrial categories, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

Visa screening programs that limit illegal technology transfers and encourage collaboration with security allies were part of recommendations from ASPI.