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What can be done to slow down China's technological advancement?

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By Robert D. Atkinson

In the Greek myth about swift-footed Atalanta, the daughter of the king who must marry anyone who beats her in a race, her challenger, Hippomenes, dropped three golden apples during the race because he knew that Atalanta would have to stop to pick them up, and it was only in this way that he could win the race.

We need to think similarly about China. For if U.S.-allied technology leaders do not find ways to slow China down (while at the same time speeding ourselves up), Beijing will almost surely win the race for global innovation advantage.

Just look at how much progress China has made. In a 2019 report, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation looked at where China was vis-a-vis the United States on a host of key technology indicators in 2017 compared to in 2007. On all of them, Beijing was catching up with, if not surpassing, America. On government R&D as a share of GDP, China went from 80 percent of U.S. levels to 120 percent. On membership in the top 2,500 companies for global R&D expenditures, it went from 2 percent of the number of U.S. companies to 57 percent. On computer science and engineering degrees, it went from 63 percent of U.S. figures to 144 percent. On robots per worker, China went from 10 percent of U.S. numbers to 50 percent.

Those who say that China cannot catch up to the United States, or other leaders, do not understand the process of technological development. In 1980, almost no one would have said that Korea could become the global leader in DRAM (dynamic random access memory) chips,........

© The Korea Times

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