Ingenuity can break high-tech barriers
Editor’s note: The United States has opened fire on Chinese high-tech enterprises by asking Canada to detain Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei (she has subsequently been released on bail). Previously, the US Commerce Department announced it is seeking opinions on tightening high-tech exports by Jan 10. How should China deal with the US’ technology blockade? Three experts share their views on the issue with China Daily’s Liu Jianna. Excerpts follow: Zhang Monan, a researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges
The strategic competition between the US and China, irrespective of China’s reluctance to be drawn into it, will likely be a key feature of bilateral ties in the medium and long term. Especially, as the targeting of Huawei, ZTE and Fujian Jinhua can be seen as a prelude to more incisive attacks against the entire Chinese high-tech sector.
With some developed countries resorting to high-tech blockade, China may turn to other tech powers to offset the impact. But thanks to their vigilance against China, some other countries are also hesitant to deepen cooperation and exchanges with China in the high-tech or military sector.
It is, however, impossible for them to abandon the Chinese market of more than 1.3 billion people despite their “deep fear” of China’s rapid catch-up in high-tech in recent years.
Still, China has to rely on itself to break the high-tech blockade. To begin with, China should discard the idea of overtaking the curve, because nearly all countries, from Japan to Germany, have been able to join the ranks of great hightech powers due to their ingenuity.
While the key to promote innovation lies in inspiring enterprises to innovate, distinctive and targeted strategies to promote innovation eyeing different types of enterprises should be devised. Support, in general, should be extended to private enterprises, small and medium-sized enterprises in particular, when necessary while the State-owned enterprises’ reform should be accelerated to boost the drive to innovate.
So, aside from encouraging enterprises to invest more in research and development, the Chinese government should also improve its education system and talent training programs in higher education to support high-tech development.
China may be forced to quicken the pace of ingenious innovation. Othercompanies Cui Fan, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics
wise, it would suffer severe losses given the rapidly rising amounts it spends on tech licensing fees every year.
However, developed countries’ interests would also suffer if they unnecessarily stick to overly strict export guidelines. For instance, US chipmakers are sure to suffer a setback because China is their largest buyer. As high-tech need a market to give full play to their technologies and earn profits, the restrictions on Chinese companies are highly likely to confront much opposition in the US.
As Pascal Lamy, former director-general of the World Trade Organization, said, de-globalization efforts won’t succeed because disconnecting the economies and unwinding the value chains that have been built over decades would be too costly for any country, the developed ones included, to afford. Such technology protectionism is unnecessary as it is unrealistic.
Enterprises will strive to protect their core technologies even without government support. And since they will choose to transfer relatively backward technologies and low- and middle-end technology products to others, so as to maintain their leading role in the tech field, the US technology blockade will not only sabotage the enterprises but also undermine the market’s role and technology owners’ competitiveness in the long term. Li Xiaohua, a researcher at the Institute of Industrial Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
In the field of high-tech, the sharing of latest research results on scientific principles, which forms the basis of some leading technologies’ development, is hard to terminate as much of the information in fundamental research is open. Given that China enjoys advantages in some high-tech sectors – for instance, a complete manufacturing system, large volumes of big data and plenty of application scenarios – and that joint efforts of all countries are needed for the global progress of technology, the US move will to some degree inhibit global high-tech development.
But now that some developed countries have set up a high-tech blockade, the Chinese government as well as enterprises should attach greater importance to ingenious innovation and R&D to reduce their reliance on other countries and foreign companies.