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Chinese Tech Has a Long Way to Go: Economist

A Chinese economist has hosed down claims about the imminent supremacy of Chinese technology

By Zhang Qingchen Updated Aug.9

China has made rapid technological advancement over the past two decades due to massive investment in research and development, which totaled some 2.2 percent of the country’s GDP last year. But one expert has played down claims about China's imminent technological supremacy, writing for China-US Focus, an opinion website.  

Fudan University School of Economics head Zhang Jun says many western economists and observers see China as a fierce competitor for global technological supremacy, and they believe that the Chinese state’s capacity can compete with Europe and the US.  

For instance, Harvard economics professor and former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers told a March conference in Beijing that China should be regarded as a “historical wonder” since its per capita income amounts to only 22 percent that of the US, but it has cutting-edge technology and technological giants.  

But Zhang downplays this suggestion, claiming this situation reflects the impact of digital technology on economic change in China, and the development of mobile internet business models, rather than the development of cutting-edge technologies.

Zhang also claims not all of these changes are related to the Chinese government's investment in research and development – the rapid growth of China’s internet economy has been primarily driven by private companies like Alibaba and Tencent.