Even at a European conference about fintech, one country dominated the conversation: China. This week, hundreds of fintech companies, from startups to tech giants, gathered at the Money 20/20 conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands. One key theme at the gathering was China's leading role in the fintech industry.
Many believe that China’s government prevents the untrammeled expression of ideas and thereby stifles innovation. As a result, the theory goes that China has to obtain technology from others because it cannot develop creative ideas on its own. While that might have had some truth to it for much of its recent economic history, it is no longer true today.
The Trump administration plans to shorten the length of validity for some visas issued to Chinese citizens, the State Department said Tuesday, as President Donald Trump works to counter alleged theft of U.S. intellectual property by Beijing.
President Trump said Tuesday that he would proceed with tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports and introduce new limits on Chinese investment in U.S. high-tech industries as part of a broad campaign to crack down on Chinese acquisition of U.S. technology.
Chinese and U.S. envoys sparred at the World Trade Organization on Monday over U.S. President Donald Trump’s claims that China steals American ideas, the subject of two lawsuits and a White House plan to slap huge punitive tariffs on Chinese goods.
The U.S. government was well aware of China’s aggressive strategy of leveraging private investors to buy up the latest American technology when, early last year, a company called Avatar Integrated Systems showed up at a bankruptcy court in Delaware hoping to buy the California chip-designer ATop Tech. ATop’s product was potentially groundbreaking -- an automated designer capable of making microchips that could power anything from smartphones to high-tech weapons systems.
It is a non-nuclear weapon that theoretically can hit any target around the world in one hour -- while evading the most modern of missile defense systems. The Russians on Wednesday paraded one in Red Square, and China is aggressively pursuing a development program for its own variant. In the race to develop hypersonic weapons, the Pentagon finds itself in an unfamiliar place: trailing its two main military rivals in a cutting-edge military technology and scrambling to catch up.
America and China both want to be the technological leader of the 21st century. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a nation as the economic, military, cultural, or ideological leader while also being a tech laggard. Of the two, China has been more explicit in the goal, mainly through its “Made in China 2025” blueprint to dominate advanced industries such as robotics, information technology, and clean energy transport.
Because AI systems get smarter as they analyze more data, when you get ahead by a month, you’re ahead by a year, and when you get ahead by a year, you’re ahead by a decade. China is quickly getting ahead by a year or more, which means it might not be catchable. While the West contemplates adding to the regulatory burden of tech companies, China has cleared the way for the likes of Tencent and Alibaba BABA, to innovate.
So far, U.S. government reviews for national security and other concerns have been limited to investment deals and corporate takeovers. This possible new expansion of the mandate - which would serve as a stop-gap measure until Congress imposes tighter restrictions on Chinese investments - is being pushed by members of Congress, and those in U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration who worry about theft of intellectual property and technology transfer to China, according to four people familiar with the matter.