In­ge­nu­ity can break high-tech bar­ri­ers

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Views -

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.

MA XUEJING / CHINA DAILY

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