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Trade war or not, China’s innovations continue to power ahead

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The topic of the Fourth Industrial Revolution topped the agenda last month at the World Economic Forum “Summer Davos”, where over 2,000 top-level representatives from politics, business, social sectors and the arts gathered in the Chinese municipality of Tianjin.

China has been one of the leading countries in this imminent revolution, characterised by cutting-edge new technologies that are “blurring the queues between the physical, digital and biological spheres”, according to forum chairman Klaus Schwab. The Made in China 2025 initiative, for example, has set China’s vision to take on global leadership in advanced manufacturing and hi-tech industries.

China has rid itself of its “copycat” stigma and has emerged as a global innovation hub in business. In 2017, the internet and technology sector – ranging from ride-hailing to e-commerce, robotics and artificial intelligence – grew at 18 per cent, substantially outpacing the overall economy, which grew 6.9 per cent, according to Xinhua.

In a recent op-ed in The New York Times, journalist Thomas Friedman quoted internet and technology analyst Mary Seeker as saying, “Five years ago, China had only two of the world’s largest publicly traded tech companies, while the US had none. Today, China has nine of the top 20 and the US has 11. Twenty years ago, China had none.”

In a recent Forbes op-ed, financial writer John Mauldin pointed out that China is building the world’s largest innovation economy and that its Greater Bay Area, which comprises Hong Kong, Macau and nine cities in Guangdong, is like “Silicon Valley on steroids” due to its size, policy support........

© South China Morning Post