Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

EIJS Working Paper Series,
Stockholm School of Economics, The European Institute of Japanese Studies

No 194: CHINA BECOMING A TECHNOLOGICAL SUPERPOWER – A NARROW WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

Jon Sigurdson ()
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Jon Sigurdson: European Institute of Japanese Studies, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, S-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This working paper shows China's technological advance, its basis in using foreign technology combined with its own manpower resources, and its clever integration of regional ambitions with national policies and programs. It also indicates an emerging global rivalry as China moves towards a future status as technological superpower. In any attempt to understand recent and future industrial and economic development in China it becomes unavoidable to think about its various regions as the equivalents of major countries in other parts of the world. In several ways the regions of the Pearl River Delta, the Yangtze River Delta and the Bo-Hai Rim, including Beijing, can be compared with France, Germany and the UK in Europe. By world standards the regions essentially have middle-income purchasing power. The US in the early part of this century remains unchallenged in defense, economics, politics and technology. Japan can be termed a superpower in economics and technology. EU is conceived as a superpower in economics, politics and technology, while Russia has remaining strength in defense and technology. Today, China is a superpower in politics with an emergence in economics and great ambitions in technology. China has during the past ten years dramatically increased the number of students in tertiary education and provided more funding for R&D, not only in absolute terms but also in relation to its GDP. Traditional indicators, such as patents, still suggest that China is far from reaching its goal of becoming a knowledge-based economy. However, monitoring signs of dynamic changes within industrial sectors and emerging competencies in a number of research fields brings forward a much more optimistic scenario.

Keywords: technological superpower; regional innovation system; RIS; national S&T program; global innovation system; 863; 973; Spark; Torch; China; standards in competition; TCL; ZTE; Huawei

JEL-codes: O14; O15; O18; O19; O31; O32; O33; O34; P16; P31; R12

26 pages, June 29, 2004

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