When Google’s AlphaGo defeated the Chinese grandmaster at a game of Go in 2017, China was confronted with its own “Sputnik moment”: a prompt to up its game on the development of artifical intelligence (AI). Sure enough, Beijing is pursuing launch a national-level AI innovation agenda for “civil-military fusion”.
"Apple is most exposed," Neil Campling, co-head of global thematic group at Mirabaud Securities, told CNBC by phone Tuesday. Drilling into the numbers you can see why. In its last fiscal year, Apple generated nearly 20 percent of its revenues from Greater China, which equated to $44.7 billion. In 2017, it shipped over 41 million iPhones into China and was the fifth-largest player in the market, according to data from IDC. On top of that, it has around 40 stores in China.
“In the technology space, China has this thing called China 2025. It’s basically a blueprint to take over and dominate the emerging technology industries of the future - things like artificial intelligence, robotics, high-tech shipping, aerospace,” he explained. “The president has said, correctly, these are the industries of the future. If we don’t have them, America doesn’t have a future,” he warned. Navarro outlined four tactics China uses to dominate these industries.
China "has experienced rapid economic growth to become the world's second largest economy while modernizing its industrial base and moving up the global value chain. However, much of this growth has been achieved in significant part through aggressive acts, policies, and practices that fall outside of global norms and rules (collectively, 'economic aggression')," the White House report said in its opening.
As the world's largest economies threaten tit-for-tat tariffs, White House trade advisor Peter Navarro tore into Chinese trade practices aimed at stealing American companies' intellectual property. U.S. officials have long complained that intellectual property theft has cost the economy billions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs.
President Trump on Friday announced that the United States would impose tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese products, making good on a threat that has been months in the making. The White House's move is expected to ramp up trade tensions with Beijing and possibly risk a key cooperative partnership to help denuclearize the Korean peninsula.
This new focus on AI is part of the US’s renewed drive to advance its at-home capabilities, to keep up with competitors, such as China and Russia. The news is somewhat of a change of heart from the Trump administration. Some members of the government had previously shown initial skepticism about the technology, which contrasted starkly with China’s full-throttle approach.
"The United States will not get a second chance to win the global 5G race," Meredith Attwell Baker, president and CEO of the wireless industry group CTIA, warned in April, when the group released a report concluding that the US trails China and South Korea in preparing for 5G (fifth generation) networks. If that doesn’t change, the report warns, the US economy will suffer.
The next wave of technological innovation is shaping up differently. China’s rulers have identified the industries they want to dominate this century, from robotics to biotechnology and artificial intelligence, or AI. Chinese firms with a project in those fields don’t have to sweat through pitches to venture capitalists: government coffers are open.
Plenty of people around the world got new gadgets Friday, but one in Eastern Tennessee stands out. Summit, a new supercomputer unveiled at Oak Ridge National Lab is, unofficially for now, the most powerful calculating machine on the planet. It was designed in part to scale up the artificial intelligence techniques that power some of the recent tricks in your smartphone.