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The China-US tech competition is intensifying, with experts saying that the US should maintain its lead, at least for now. (Philip Fong/AFP)

Technology and innovation race: US losing edge to China?

Observers of China-US competition have commented that a tech war is rapidly becoming the decisive battleground in the big power rivalry for global dominance. While there have been reports saying that the US may lose this war, visiting senior fellow at the RSIS Dr Cung Vu thinks that given the US's recognition of the importance of technology, and China's recent acts of reining in its tech companies, the US should continue to lead.
Actors stand near a board with logos of Maoyan Entertainment and Chinese company ByteDance's app TikTok, known locally as Douyin, at a red carpet ceremony at the Beijing International Film Festival, in Beijing, China, 20 September 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

China's burgeoning e-commerce cyberspace and its ever more complex regulations

Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi says that many users of platforms like Douyin, Kuaishou and WeChat spend hours each day scrolling aimlessly for interesting content, and the art of directing these potential consumers to their products through content creators is complicated. To facilitate this process, it is necessary to ensure fair competition for all participants. This is where anti-monopoly rules can play a part, and with a growing cyberspace, it will be an ever more complex task.
An employee gestures next to a Lenovo logo at Lenovo Tech World in Beijing, China, 15 November 2019. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

Lenovo's IPO withdrawal: Why Lenovo is no longer the golden boy of the Chinese tech industry

Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu notes that Lenovo’s aborted bid to get listed on Shanghai’s STAR Market is telling of it being held back by a lack of R&D and innovation. Is this emblematic of other companies in China’s manufacturing industry who went for low-hanging fruits in the early days instead of planning for long-term technological development?
Amazon workers, environmental advocates, labour groups, and small business owners participate in a rally and news conference to protest plans for a new Amazon air cargo mega-hub at the Newark International Airport on 6 October 2021 in Newark, New Jersey, US. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Worsening global digital divide as the US and China continue zero-sum competitions

In the digital era we live in, seven “super platforms” in the US and China constitute two-thirds of total market value worldwide. Yet we hardly see any significant joint efforts or “healthy competition” between the US and China to help combat digital divides in the least developed countries. These are places where more than 80% of the population are still offline and the problem has been compounded by the pandemic. How can the US and China do more where help is most needed?
China's official app for digital yuan is seen on a mobile phone next to 100 RMB banknotes in this illustration picture taken on 16 October 2020. (Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo/Reuters)

China’s central bank digital currency has huge potential, but be careful of overregulation

Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) can potentially optimise and vastly improve the central bank’s monetary policy transmission with preset conditions to incorporate forward-looking and counter-cyclical features. This means that central banks can accurately control the amount, direction and intensity of liquidity or money supply flowing to the desired industries, thereby allowing industries to achieve an optimal level of production and reduce the risk of inflation or deflation. Earlier this year, China tracked and paid wages to builders in Xiong’an using its digital RMB, e-CNY. Is this a harbinger of things to come?
A US flag flutters in the wind near the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum on 10 September 2021 in the US. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP)

With AUKUS, Southeast Asia may become a more intense battleground

Yogesh Joshi points out that the new AUKUS shows an American recognition of the military threat from China, which is assessed to have the world's largest navy. Such anxiety has the US sharing its most prized military technology of nuclear propulsion with Australia, something it has never done with any country except the UK. With the US determined to maintain primacy in the Indo-Pacific, will there be a greater chance of inadvertent escalation of tensions? Will the Southeast Asian region suffer the brunt of heightened risks?
Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou waves as she steps out of a charter plane at Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China, 25 September 2021. (Jin Liwang/Xinhua via Reuters)

Canada the biggest loser in Meng Wanzhou saga?

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou returned to China over the weekend to much fanfare. The swift end to this incident after almost three years and the release of two Canadians who had been detained in China point to political machinations behind the scenes. Is this ending just a stalemate running its course or does it signify a restart of China-US and China-Canada relations?
A man plays an online game on a computer at an internet cafe in Beijing, China, 31 August 2021. (Florence Lo/File Photo/Reuters)

A metaverse with Chinese characteristics?

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently said, “Think of the metaverse as an immersive virtual world where people can spend time together and hang out, much like you can do today with virtual reality, dialed up to 11.” Stocks of companies working on constructing the said metaverse have been on the rise. China, with its huge video game market, should have a head start in this realm, but authorities are sounding words of caution. They fear the metaverse will be as ephemeral as it seems and worse, even harder to regulate. How will it get a piece of the pie in its own way?
Vendors sell vegetables at a stall in an older neighborhood in Shanghai, China, on 30 August 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China's internet giants are shelling out money for 'common prosperity'. But is that enough?

Heightened gestures of corporate social responsibility and outright donations from major companies have been declared since the Chinese government’s recent push for “common prosperity”. Are these simply knee-jerk reactions to the government’s stance? Can companies be encouraged to be more socially responsible in the long term? China is all abuzz with talk on ways to achieve common prosperity.