“The Seven Great Weapons” of China to race technology with the US

Tram Ho

As China is in fierce competition with the United States for the innovation superpower, the government is aiming to promote research and autonomy of “key technologies”, including Quantum computing and semiconductor technology.

During Friday’s meeting, Chinese Prime Minister Li Quoc Cuong said that the government would increase research and development spending by 7% between 2021 and 2025, with the aim of pursuing ” key breakthroughs “in technology.

Over the past few years, a slew of Chinese tech giants, such as Huawei and SMIC, have been subjected to repeated sanctions from the US government and are struggling to maintain their operations. Therefore, this is prompting China to increase efforts to stimulate domestic technology industries such as semiconductors, to become strategic spearheads for future growth.

Here are 7 key technologies that will be prioritized by China to invest in research and development in the next 5 years to compete with the US.

1. Artificial intelligence

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China intends to focus on developing specific chips for AI applications as well as the open source algorithms that support it. Open source technology is usually developed by one entity and then licensed to other companies.

The plan also emphasizes machine learning in areas like decision-making technology. Machine learning is the development of AI programs by training huge amounts of data. The more data it is loaded, the better the program learns and the smarter it becomes.

Artificial intelligence is an area in which both China and the US are racing to dominate. A group of technology experts, led by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, once warned that China will soon replace the US as an “AI superpower”.

2. Quantum Computing

Quantum computing or quantum computing is a completely different concept from the computers we use today. They promise to aid in achieving ambitious goals in new science and technology such as creating new drugs, or new, more effective materials.

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A sample of a quantum computer

Quantum computing is being seen as another fierce battle front between the US and China.

3. Integrated semiconductor circuits

Semiconductor is an important area for China today and is also an area that has been investing a lot of money in recent years but the country is still struggling to catch up with leading countries like the US, Japan and Korea.

The problem lies in the complexity of the supply chain of the semiconductor industry. TSMC and Samsung are two of the most advanced chip manufacturers today, but they both rely on US and European technologies. A ban from the US government could completely disrupt this supply chain to China.

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So far, two Chinese tech giants Huawei and SMIC have both been placed on the US Entity List and restricted from exporting technology goods. Moreover, the Dutch firm ASML, the most advanced chip engraving machine maker today, is also pressured to stop supplying tools to SMIC, making it even harder for it to catch up with its competitors.

Therefore, in its five-year plan, the country will focus on research and development of integrated circuit design tools, equipment and materials critical to the field.

4. Brain Science

Not only researching fields to prevent and mitigate brain diseases, China also plans to study “brain computing” as well as “technology that combines computers and brains”. The government’s five-year plan does not detail how products from the sector will look when they appear.

However, similar work is also underway in the US with billionaire Elon Musk’s Neuralink. His company works on implanting brain-chip interfaces under the skin to connect people and computers.

5. Biotechnology and genetic engineering

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With the Covid-19 outbreak from last year to the present, biotechnology is becoming more and more important. Therefore, in its newly approved five-year plan, China said it will focus on “innovative vaccines” and “research on biosecurity.”

6. Clinical and Health Medicine

In the near future, Chinese studies will focus on understanding the progression of cancer, cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic diseases. The government also said it would research “advanced” therapeutic technologies such as regenerative medicine. These works involve drugs that can regrow or repair damaged cells, tissues, and organs.

China also said it is looking for key technologies for the prevention and treatment of dangerous infectious diseases.

7. Study space, seabed, earth bed and polar regions

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Until recently, space exploration remained a top priority for China. Beijing said it will focus on researching “the origin and evolution of the universe,” exploring Mars as well as the deep sea and polar regions.

In December, a Chinese spacecraft returned to Earth with rock samples from the Moon. This is the first time China has launched a spacecraft outside of Earth and has collected rock samples on the Moon. This past March, a Chinese Mars mission called Tianwen-1 arrived.

Consult CNBC

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Source : Genk