Top Chinese university pulls report that concluded China would suffer more from tech decoupling with US
- A key finding from the analysis was that both the US and China would suffer from a tech decoupling, but China’s losses would likely be bigger than those of the US
- The report compared the development of China and the US in areas such as information technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and aerospace technology
A think-tank at China’s prestigious Peking University has pulled a report that concluded China would likely suffer more in a tech decoupling from the US.
The 7,600-character report was published on the official WeChat account of the school’s Institute of International and Strategic Studies on Sunday, and was subsequently shared by Chinese media outlets and analysts.
A key finding from the analysis was that both the US and China would suffer from a tech decoupling, but China’s losses would likely be bigger than those of the US.
The South China Morning Post reported the findings of the study on Monday. Lianhe Zaobao, a Chinese language newspaper in Singapore, and Taiwan’s Central News Agency, also covered the report, which was penned by a research team at the institute headed by Wang Jisi, a renowned Chinese scholar in US-China relations.
The report was “deleted by the author”, according to a message seen on WeChat when trying to access the content on Friday.
The institute, which did not provide a reason for removing the report, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday, which was a holiday in China for the Lunar New Year.
The release and subsequent removal of the report, which compared the development of China and the US in areas such as information technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and aerospace technology, came amid intensified competition between Beijing and Washington for leadership in key technology areas.
“While the current US administration has not yet determined the boundaries of decoupling, certain consensus has already been formed in key tech areas such as chip manufacturing and AI,” the researchers said. “Industries that are still ‘linked’ will only be those that are low-tech or have low added value.”
“In the future, China can narrow its gap with the US in more technological areas and China can achieve ‘self-sufficiency’ in some core technologies, but it remains a long way off before China comprehensively surpasses the US,” according to the report.
As tech rivalry becomes a central element of geopolitical competition between the US and China, researchers from both countries are trying to assess its impact.
In December, the Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, forecast that in the next decade China would catch up to the US – if it has not already overtaken it – in foundational technologies such as AI, 5G, quantum information science, semiconductors, biotechnology and green energy.
Separately, a Chinese state think tank last month listed “targeted decoupling of supply chains” as one of the top 10 global risks for China in 2022, along with mutations of the Covid-19 virus, underlining how serious the issue is viewed by top scholars in the country.
The risk list was compiled by the National Institute for Global Strategy and the Institute of World Economics and Politics, both under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). It revealed that Chinese academics see a partial decoupling between China and the Western world as a realistic threat, as Washington continues to restrict China’s access to strategic technologies such as advanced semiconductors.
Author: Josh Ye, SCMP