While the United States is still at the top in total investment in research and development -- spending $500 billion in 2015 -- a new Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study released Monday has made a startling finding: A couple of years ago, China quietly surpassed the U.S. in spending on the later stage of R&D that turns discoveries into commercial products.
There are few restrictions on investing in American start-ups that focus on artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles and robotics, the report contends, and China has taken advantage. Beijing, the report says, is encouraging its companies to invest for the purpose of pushing the country ahead in its strategic competition with the United States.
Unfortunately, recent data shows that we are losing ground when it comes to the protection of IP and patents - consequently, we are falling behind in the innovation race. While China has long been seen as a nation which does not respect Intellectual Property and where piracy has been rampant, it appears they may have seen the error of their ways and are increasing their patent protections as we have started to undermine ours.
Unfortunately for the U.S., while America is a big user of robotics it's well behind in the field of robots for industrial manufacturing and stands to lose out on the billions of dollars in purchases of robotics in the years ahead. Japan's Fanuc Corp. is the world's largest industrial-robot producer. Germany-based Kuka is another major player. Last year, China's appliance giant Midea Group snapped up a majority stake in Kuka.
Chinese companies are investing billions of dollars in Western startups, which are working on the latest technology. According to Dodwell, director of the Hong Kong Trade Policy Group and a representative of the APEC Business Council, contrary to the naive notions in the West, China is moving toward global technological dominance.
China's breakneck economic expansion may be flagging, but the country's ambitions in space show no signs of slowing down. Alongside ongoing efforts to rival NASA by placing robotic landers, and eventually astronauts, on the moon and Mars, China's government is increasingly looking to its burgeoning space sector to rival U.S. companies like Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX, which is targeting March 30 for the latest launch of its Falcon 9 rocket..
Apple said on Tuesday that Swift Playgrounds would be available in Simplified Chinese. Swift Playgrounds is an app, only available on iPads, that helps kids learn to code through games. Not only does Playgrounds help kids learn to code, but it teaches them Apple's new coding language, Swift, released in 2014.
This column examines the effects of Chinese import competition on another metric for the health of the US manufacturing sector - innovation. Firms whose industries were exposed to a greater surge of Chinese import competition from 1991 to 2007 experienced a significant decline in their patent output as well as their R&D expenditures. While politicians’ ‘obsession’ with manufacturing is primarily due to job losses, an accompanying reduction in innovation may well affect economic growth in the longer term.
China is taking a page from the Pentagon's playbook under the Obama administration: it's partnering with tech companies to develop more cutting-edge weapons. But China's innovation-focused strategy could elevate the espionage risk to the U.S.
Russia and China are increasingly challenging the military superiority that the United States has held since the early 1990s. Since the end of the Cold War, America’s naval, air, land and space capabilities, paired with key bases in Europe and Asia, has created a strategic advantage over other major superpowers.