back to article China leads the world in tech research, could win the future, says think tank

Think tank the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has published an update to its Critical Technology Tracker, and asserted that China has taken the lead in research on 37 of 44 critical or emerging technologies. "Our research reveals that China has built the foundation to position itself as the world's leading …

  1. PhilipN Silver badge

    Research papers

    And the correlation between research papers and workable technology?

    Does demonstrating a valid theory comprise 10% of the challenge to bring the product or service to fruition or 90%?

    Genuinely curious to know, and to know whether we should sit up and take notice or ASPI is blowing hot air.

    1. teknopaul

      Re: Research papers

      Some stuff is so crazily complicated and specific nowadays that I suspect just having people around that really understand the domain and the solution is actually very important to making anything practical.

      Right now a lot of research and tech docs, specially in It are written in Latin letters and often English. Computer language almost all are. I think it will be hard for next gen students in the West if many of the great research papers and tech tools are written in Chinese and mangled through an AI translation tool to get here.

      1. TheInstigator

        Re: Research papers

        I still remember an old news segment I saw years ago about antibiotlc resistance - the Russians had found and researched something called phage years before and had published in their own language - however as the international language of medicine is English, it never really caught anyone's attention.

        Fast forward a few years later when someone in the West did some research and found it - WOW - they found a potential cure for antibiotic resistance etc etc - very funny.

        I don't know whether it's true - but I find the same kind of thing about the fisher price space pen quite funny - Americans spending a lot of money to find a pen that works in space - the Russians use a pencil ...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That small-state neoliberalism is working well ...

    ... a four decade decline in the West during which we seem to have convinced ourselves that the only way out is to keep trying these failing policies ever harder.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: That small-state neoliberalism is working well ...

      Originally academic research projects were normally funded by the governments in the West with grants to aid the researchers and successful projects could then be adopted by companies. But since then the funding for educational research has decreased in many Western government environments. It's much harder to get projects funded these days ... possibly unless you are in China although I see a lot of comments that the EU is still funding research.

      Back in the old days I used to talk with a lot of students who were trying to do things, nowadays they are just wanting to write something, research is often just theories, not physical construction.

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: That small-state neoliberalism is working well ...


      Where is the 'small-state neoliberalism'?

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "China leads the world in tech research"

    Given that China also leads the world in stealing tech research, yeah, they're going to have a good long leg up on most everyone else.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "China leads the world in tech research"

      @Pascal Monett

      Yeah, guess they had good teachers...

    2. DerekCurrie

      Re: "China leads the world in tech research"

      China: Criminal Nation has been documented to have been stealing US government data since 1998, the year they were provided US Most Favored Nation status, the year China began sponsoring the Red Hacker Alliance.

      It is Chinese law that all companies wishing to have products manufactured in the country turn over all of their IP, intellectual property, to the Chinese government.

      So, from these two standard Chinese practices alone, it's obvious exactly how China has generated it's "research". As such it is ridiculous to consider China any kind of actual tech research generating innovators. When you see down votes regarding this point, know that they were created in pursuit of hiding these ongoing facts.

      If you believe in faeries, it's easy to believe anything said by the CCP, the Chinese Communist Party, so-called. As a whole, the CCP is just another insecure organization hiding behind manic narcissism. Let's hope this sad phase of Chinese history passes soon.

      Note that the fact I've posted this comment will earn me a wrathful response from the sad and feckless CCP, typically in the form of harassing phone calls in Mandarin from NYC. Not kidding.

      1. TheInstigator

        Re: "China leads the world in tech research"

        @DerekCurrie To me, it's quite clear the thought processes that the leaders in China had - "we're probably at least a decade or two behind the West and we need to modernise in a hurry - how do we go about doing that"

        One of the answers would be to do exactly that - if you want to open any form of company in China - you have to hand over IP - is it fair? No - quite clearly it's not - but unfortunately China is a sovereign country - if you go there you have to abide by its rules - if you don't like it - don't go!

        If you went to the US to a state with the dealth penality and you killed someone there for whatever reason and got sentenced to death - would you complain saying it's not fair and you should be imprisoned for life instead?

        To draw another analogy in either Vietnam or Thailand it is illegal for foreigners to own land - even if married to a native from that country (not 100% sure on the latter part) - is this wrong? If you welcome tourist money then you should also allow foreigners to buy land! That's a law that that country has decided to put in place - if you don't like it - invade the country and install your own leadership - but the West would never do that right? I mean for example the children of previous political leaders in the UK would never have been caught trying to install regime change in African countries with help from ex special forces personnel right? Right? As the West only ever acts for truth, democracy, justice and all that stuff

      2. TheInstigator

        Re: "China leads the world in tech research"

        DerekCurrie "Note that the fact I've posted this comment will earn me a wrathful response from the sad and feckless CCP, typically in the form of harassing phone calls in Mandarin from NYC. Not kidding."

        Interesting - my number gets spammed daily with all types of different calls and I've never received any like this - I have however received many from Indian call centres offering me cheap energy, refunds from Amazon etc etc etc

    3. TheInstigator

      Re: "China leads the world in tech research"

      @Pascal Monett Is China stealing IP - probably yes

      Have other countries - let's say in particular the US - ever stolen any IP? Think about your answer carefully - it will reveal more about your thought processes and prejudices than you may realise at first

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Breaking News for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)

    In the long term, it could lead to a shift – not just of technology development, but also global power and influence – to China, which ASPI calls "an authoritarian state where the development, testing and application of emerging, critical and military technologies isn't open and transparent and where it can't be scrutinized by independent civil society and media."

    The development, testing and application of emerging, critical and military technologies isn't open and transparent in any state which has top secrets to both monetise, and harbour from and betray to A.N.Others.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Breaking News for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)

      If you're publishing and patenting then you're not hiding your work (and this is what was being used to measure the relative strengths of research, remember). Its nice to get some numbers on this but you just have to look at who's been writing papers to get a feel for where the wind's blowing -- its pretty rare these days to find a paper that doesn't have at least one Chinese author credit, its been this way for years.

      What's hiding the information isn't some secretive government but rather a lot of this stuff is now published in Mandarin with only the abstract being in English. (FWIW -- publishing scientific papers in English is actually a relatively recent phenomenon -- it wasn't that long ago that the primary language for papers was German.) Here we're at a systematic disadvantage because we're far more likely to come across Chinese academics that are skilled in English than US academics ("not of Chinese descent, of course") that are fluent in a Chinese language.

      1. TheInstigator

        Re: Breaking News for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)

        There's also another interesting phenomenum - say for example if there is research going on in a Western country and just because one of the researchers is Chinese - is it right to then say that research has been compromised and now belongs to the Chinese Government?

        Are we saying that every person that looks to be Chinese is a Chinese Government agent? This would be very interesting - because if we then make a logical inference from this - what should we then assume from every British, American researcher? I've also posted about other nationalities (in particular a Middle Eastern country where much research has been done for Intel chips and the post was taken down very quickly)

        Are we saying that these latter countries also spy to? Or not because that isn't what Western countries do?

    2. TheInstigator

      Re: Breaking News for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)

      I think the point being - from the West's perspective they'd like China to be open in all areas - so they can nick any interesting/useful tech that China create

  5. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

    It makes perfect sense. When China decides to do something, they just DO it, while the Americans are constantly distracted by "investor" pressures to Turn A Profit Right Now (TM).

    1. Nasu

      And fighting wars

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, what about NOT competing ..

    .. but insted find a model to collaborate?

    Sure, I know it's going to be hard to get parties to collaborate when their first instinct is to stab eachother the first chance they get, but just imagine if the resources now spent on spying on each other and subverting other economies so they go along with whatever ideology is favoured are indeed spent on solving real world problems to the benefit of all?

    Yeah, I know. It will never happen if at least one of the parties doesn't grow up..

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: So, what about NOT competing ..

      .. but insted find a model to collaborate? ......Yeah, I know. It will never happen if at least one of the parties doesn't grow up.. ..... Anonymous Coward

      Actually, AC, it can easily immediately happen whenever just one party realises they have to capture the room and assume/act /be all grown-up, and wise up to the advantage and reward gratitude generously supplies whenever one freely shares new and subversive resources with contemporaries ....... with such a mutually beneficial, positively reinforcing result very likely to be a continuing model of excellence guaranteeing further future collaborations/engagements/developments.

      And such a novel revolutionary partnership with foreign and alien agents, although admittedly initially stalled until language differences are resolved to allow for accurate translation and transmission allowing for a perfect parallel understanding of proprietary intellectual property/stateless secret information/Advanced IntelAIgents, is virtually guaranteed if ever home grown services interest in such products/programmes/virtual machine weaponry as may be freely offered and gratefully received and deployed/employed/enjoyed, be clearly absent with proferred direct engagement with source core ore miner/minder either officially declined or worryingly ignored, given what would then be easily extrapolated/presumed/learnt by both friendly competitors and hostile opponents alike of one’s own state and level of intelligence and the state and level of one’s own national and international intelligence services too, if one identifies with any such statehood.

      Some things are best realised as being absolutely vital to secure and engage with whenever failure to purchase favoured status is sure to result exceptionally grave damage to the national security.

      1. TheInstigator

        Re: So, what about NOT competing ..

        Given human nature, this will NEVER happen.

        The main problem is that there is no impetus for the entity at the top - of whatever field that may be - to relinquish their position or to work with others - it only benefits them to pull ahead of whatever race they're in - so if they're number 1 in military spending, to spend EVEN MORE in military spending, if wealth, to gain even more wealth etc

        China's been working on 5G patents etc - contributing back to the standard as a whole - also working a lot on open source technologies - again contributing back to the collective - and the West has still deemed China to be a threat in both these areas - to the extent now that Chinese EV manufacturers are being denied to chips to make EV vehicles under the chip ban - as I've often said what next - banning China against using any tech at all? Stones and flint only?

        It's quite clear to me that the security narrative that the US is spouting about China, is a variation of the WMD narrative that they were discussing re. Iraq - it's just a mechanism - a carrier if you will - that they can use to convey some kind of threat about the opposition so they can unite others into seeing them as a common threat.

        Am I saying China isn't spying? Can I say China is the best place in the world to live and has great freedoms etc? As I've said often - No - all countries spy on each other - but some of the laws that the US is looking at bringing in recently like child labour laws etc don't particularly make the US look that great either.

  7. Norman123

    Ah, but the US is number 1 in military spending

    We are also becoming good in self-delusion of safety in muscles and divisions, alternative truths and realities, and bending others to these imagined worlds thus setting the stage for potential consequences that will become uncontrollable/regrettable.

    1. TheInstigator

      Re: Ah, but the US is number 1 in military spending

      As I've posted above, when you're at the top of any such leadership board - there is no impetus to relinquish that position.

      The more military might the US has, the more that other countries will fear opposing it - it's kind of like seeing the playground bully get more and more jacked up as they get older. Pretty soon if that playground bully says "jump on 1 leg and rub your stomach" you're going to do just that as you're afraid of getting beaten up.

      But America would never misuse it's power and position like that - so we're safe

  8. Nasu

    Western media and the US Government want us all to think that the Chinese only copy or steal western technology to get where they are.

    So you wont find ANY mention of this research on:


    Fox News,

    Washington Post,

    New York Times or


    It conflicts with their narrative that "China only steals and copies" narrative

    1. TheInstigator

      Any non Caucasian races must have got to their point of civilisation only due to previous Western interactions and on their own part - nefarious means ...

      It's only Western and Caucasian civilisations that benefit human civilisation and you would do well to remember that fact

  9. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    When a picture paints a thousand words

    "China and the USA were well ahead of the next tier of countries – led by India and the UK along with South Korea, Germany, Australia, Italy and, less often, Japan"

    It's good to see the UK's name up in lights, so I thought I'd take a closer look at their handy summary grid...

    Seems we are a rather distant third at best which isn't a great surprise, and I can see why the US is worried she's about to lose her 'top dog' status.

    Makes me think the UK, and the rest of the west, are backing the wrong horse.

  10. TheInstigator

    A nuclear bomb could change this ...

    ... or biological/chemical warfare!

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