China-US tech war

Data room operators work at the headquarters of online shopping platform JD.com during the Singles' Day shopping festival in Beijing on 11 November 2020. (Greg Baker/AFP)

72-hour workweek in China's tech companies: Driving innovation or destroying workers?

News of young employees dying from overwork at major Chinese tech companies are not unheard of. Last December, a 22-year-old female employee at e-commerce giant Pinduoduo died after working long hours past midnight. China's intense efforts at increasing national competences in new and advanced technologies have seen it moving up the value chain from a low-cost manufacturer to an innovator in science and technology. But is the “996 culture” of working from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week, feasible and sustainable?
A researcher working on a semiconductor on an interface board, 29 February 2016. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

Taiwan's booming semiconductor industry plays crucial role on world stage

Taiwan’s semiconductor industry has been making waves not just domestically, but internationally. Zaobao correspondent Woon Wei Jong examines why for Taiwan, strategically and economically, possessing advanced semiconductor technology is as good as striking gold.
In this file photo taken on 20 October 2019, people walk in front of a screen at the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Beijing's tech conundrum in 2021: How to bolster tech sector while reining in the digital giants

Amid greater efforts at achieving greater self-sufficiency in developing core technologies, China will turn to an erstwhile resource it has depended on — the state — to move forward. But will state-controlled venture capital funds be nimble enough to catch the next wave of tech innovations? And judging by the regulatory clampdown on Ant Group and others in recent months, a key preoccupation of 2021 will remain growing the digital economy while trying to rein in digital giants.
Paramilitary police stand guard as people gather to celebrate the arrival of the New Year near the Bund in Shanghai, China, 31 December 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Covid-19 will be overcome, but can China and the US avoid the risk of war and conflict?

US-based researcher Wei Da feels that both China and the US need to make significant adjustments in their relations with each other, or else the scenario of a new Cold War and a real threat of hot war will not be far off. Who needs to understand that the world is different now, and adjustments have to be made? And who is the more backward party that has to adjust more?
A Chinese flag is seen at the landing site of the return module of China's Chang'e-5 lunar probe in Siziwang Banner, in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on 17 December 2020. (STR/AFP)

Is China indeed the biggest threat to the US?

Over the past few years, and especially in the past few months, the US has been painting China as its biggest threat and even enemy. Are these claims valid or exaggerated? What does it mean for the incoming Biden administration, and will it be able to improve China-US relations? Economics professor Zhu Ying explores the topic.
Staff members examine the return module of China's Chang'e-5 lunar probe in Siziwang Banner, in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on 17 December 2020. (STR/AFP)

China’s strides in technology good for US and the world

Adherence to IP protection and the rule of law are common and valid concerns of US and Western practitioners doing business in China. Commentator Deng Qingbo says that in that light, China’s recent stated focus on technological innovation should be cheered, as science, rational thinking, abiding by the rules, and even democracy often go together. At the same time, the Chinese need to better communicate their desire to share the fruits of their technological advancements with the rest of the world.
Protesters against US President Donald Trump rally outside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, US, 21 September 2020. (Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters)

Science & Tech: Can the ‘whole-of-nation’ approach save the US?

Motivated by its rivalry with the Soviet Union, the US focused its resources on becoming a science and technology giant after World War II. Now, in competition with China, can the US muster a "whole-of-nation" approach to regain a clear dominance in science and technology?
Left to right: Robert Tsao, Morris Chang, Chiang Shang-yi, and Liang Mong-song. (SPH/Bloomberg/Internet)

China seeks Taiwan research talents in semiconductor industry

Both the mainland and Taiwan are aware of the need to wrestle for top research talents and spur their semiconductor industries to greater heights. Taiwanese firms in particular have made great strides over the years. With mainland Chinese companies scrambling to counter suppressive moves by the US, access to Taiwanese talent and expertise will be of even greater economic and political importance.
A tree on a pickup truck before the Lights of Lugoff Christmas Parade on 12 December 2020 in Lugoff, South Carolina. (Sean Rayford/AFP)

Even as US-China competition intensifies, the world can look forward to a few good things

Post Covid-19, while it seems that a world economy with two centres of dynamism — one America, the other China — is setting in, and “decoupling” and “deglobalisation” are becoming catchwords of the new era, academic Zha Daojiong notes that there are a few bright spots amid the gloom. Moreover, the new normal in China-US relations may be more stable and less worrying for Southeast Asia than commonly thought.