China launched the final satellite for the Beidou system on 23 June. Consisting of 35 satellites, Beidou is an impressive operational satellite navigation system significant for China in a number of ways. Most importantly, it removes China's reliance on the US GPS system. China's space programme started in the late 1950s with rocket technology transfer from the Soviet Union, while India's space journey began in the 1960s with support from the US and France. Both countries have come a long way and are now ratcheting up their efforts to secure a foothold in this frontier as the world’s geopolitical battles get launched into space.
Before walking under a cloud of strained relations, China had been an admirer of US innovation, creativity and enterprise. Recent troubles have shown that the US is no deity, but US-based researcher Wei Da reminds us that some of its deity-like qualities are worth emulating. What must China do to elevate itself and put on some deity-like armour of its own?
The use of robot chefs in restaurants has been on the rise in recent years. Zaobao journalist Zeng Shi takes a closer look at how Foodom, a robot restaurant in Guangzhou is bringing us one step closer to the future. But that is not all — the robot chefs also volunteered their service in Hubei during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Greater restrictions have been imposed by the US in recent months to choke off US-related chip-making supplies to Huawei. As the noose tightens around its neck, it has to think fast about how it can produce its own chips domestically to minimise the impact.
Convinced that China has been stealing information and know-how through people insurgents at all levels, the US is making haste to withdraw opportunities for Chinese to tap on US innovation in any way. Thus far, experts of Chinese descent who work in particularly sensitive fields in the US are facing the brunt of increased scrutiny. Does this signal the end of long-held American generosity and openness in sharing knowledge, at least as it applies to the Chinese?
Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi points out that helped along by work-from-home orders and enterprises rushing to take their businesses online, e-commerce is growing faster than ever before, but this is leading to an unequal distribution of earnings and job opportunities, which governments have to look out for.
Associate professor Kenneth Huang from the NUS Business School observes that by 2012, China had overtaken the US in terms of the number of patents filed domestically. But this does not mean that all the innovations filed were truly novel or valuable. His recent study on Chinese state-owned enterprises shows that self-serving human factors are at play.
The pandemic rages on in the US, but the Trump administration is not letting up on its efforts to keep Huawei in check. Will the China-US tech war come to the fore again as the political stakes are raised on both sides?
Yin Ruizhi says citizen journalism gone awry and the further erosion of privacy by governments in the name of tackling the Covid-19 pandemic are some of the risks brought about by the digital age.