China S&T News Digest for August 3 - 8, 2017
GENERAL SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, & INNOVATION
How This U.S. Tech Giant Is Backing China's Tech Ambitions

New York Times

As the Chinese government develops drones, the American technology giant Qualcomm is helping. The same goes for artificial intelligence, mobile technology and supercomputers. Qualcomm is also working to help Chinese companies like Huawei break into overseas markets in support of China's "go global" campaign to develop big multinational brands. Qualcomm is providing money, expertise and engineering for Beijing's master plan to create its own technology superpowers. Big American companies fiercely protect their intellectual property and trade secrets, fearful of giving an edge to rivals. But they have little choice in China - and Washington is looking on with alarm.

 

Made in China 2025: AI in U.S. Factories? Not There Yet

EE Times

Although China is a distant second to the United States in receiving AI investment dollars, its investment and deployment are growing fast. "Our survey suggests that countries that lead the way in AI investment and innovation - the United States and China - also lead the way in AI adoption," the McKinsey study states. Both countries have made AI technologies central to their strategies for the manufacturing sector. Last year, the Obama White House released a strategic plan for AI R&D, and China made AI a key part of its Five-Year Plan for 2020. AI is likewise critical to the success of Made in China 2025, the country's new initiative to shift its manufacturing base from low-labor-cost to high-value-add manufacturing. To meet MIC 2025's aggressive timetable, however, China may have to pursue more merger and acquisition deals along the lines of Chinese home appliance maker Midea's 2016 acquisition of German-based Kuka Robotics.

 

China, ASEAN Agree To Build Higher Level of Strategic Partnership

Xinhua News

China and ASEAN nations on Sunday expressed satisfaction with the achievements made in their strategic partnership during the last 15 years and agreed to further enhance cooperation.

 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) made the pledge at a meeting in Manila. Wang outlined a seven-point proposal on future China-ASEAN cooperation put forward by the Chinese side. [...] Third, to designate 2018 as China-ASEAN Year of Innovation, give full play to the complementarity of innovation-driven development of China and innovation-driven growth of ASEAN, and launch the upgrading of China-ASEAN cooperation.

INTERNET, IT, COMMUNICATIONS
With $1b War Chest, Ping An Set To Become AI Innovation Giant
Chinese financial giant Ping An Insurance (Group) Co will spend more than 7.77 billion yuan ($1.16 billion) on technology research and development this year, and artificial intelligence will be the focus of that R&D, according to a senior executive of the company. "We want to build more platforms in finance and healthcare industries this year and in the near future," said Ericson Chan, CEO of Ping An Technology, a subsidiary and technology arm of Ping An Group. "We will continue to focus on providing technology services for the group as well as share more with the whole society."
 
Xiaomi Topples Fitbit and Apple as World's Largest Wearables Vendor: Strategy Analytics
Chinese technology giant Xiaomi has dethroned Fitbit and Apple as the world's largest wearable vendor, according to a recent report from research firm Strategy Analytics. Xiaomi captured 17.1 percent market share in the second quarter of 2017, shipping 3.7 million wearable units, up from 3 million shipments and 15 percent market share in the previous corresponding quarter in 2016.
 
Making a Quantum Leap in Space Research
MORE than 20 years have passed since Pan Jianwei was first astonished by the quantum world. Pondering the strange micro world has carved deep lines in the quantum physicist's forehead. People still don't fully understand a phenomenon such as quantum superposition and quantum entanglement, but Pan is shining some light in the field, manipulating microscopic particles and applying the magical quantum characters to develop quantum cryptography and quantum computing.
AVIATION & SPACE
China Is Having a Hard Time Finding a Foreigner to Run Its Colossal Alien-Hunting Telescope
Last year, China flicked the switch on the world's largest radio telescope, aimed at one day unraveling the mysteries of the origin of the universe and discovering extraterrestrial life. There's only one problem: they don't have anyone to run the thing. China is currently searching for a foreign astronomer to act as chief scientist at its FAST (Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope) facility, offering a salary of more than $1.2 million and numerous subsidies, along with a prestigious title and an incredibly exciting opportunity which could result in winning a Nobel Prize. However, so far, they've had no takers. The Chinese Academy of Sciences quickly determined that there were no Chinese astronomers with enough experience to actually run the massive alien finder, causing them to start a job search abroad which so far has been unsuccessful.
 
China to Build First Mars Simulation Base
China will establish the country's first Mars simulation base, in northwest China's Qinghai Province, the local government said Tuesday. The base will be in the red cliff region in Da Qaidam (also known as Dachaidan) district in the Mongolian-Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Haixi. Situated at the Qaidam basin in western Qinghai, Haixi was chosen for its Mars-like landform, landscape and climate, according to Wang Jingzhai, the prefecture's deputy Party chief. The government of Haixi and the Chinese Academy of Sciences signed an agreement in November last year to build the base and have since begun discussing the project location. The base, comprising a "Mars community" and a "Mars campsite," will be turned into China's first cultural and tourist experience base for space and astronomical education, Mars-themed tourism, scientific research and film shooting.
NEW MATERIALS
Standard Graphene Chief Stresses Technical Cooperation with China
Korean graphene technology research firm Standard Graphene is pushing to commercialize the new material for industry purposes, the company said Thursday. Its CEO Lee Jung-hoon said Korea should make extra efforts to foster the graphene industry as one of its future growth engines, as many other advanced countries are doing. "China is increasingly stepping up investments in the graphene industry alongside other new growth industries such as semiconductors and electric vehicles," Lee said during his keynote speech at the Graphene Smart conference in Beijing, Sunday. "On the other hand, Korea, which has been one of the leaders in the graphene industry worldwide, faces a slowdown in this sector."

BIOTECH
Chinese Research Claiming a Gene-Editing Alternative to CRISPR Was Just Withdrawn
On Wednesday, Nature published a study of the use of the genetic-editing technique called Crispr to correct a genetic mutation in human embryos, research that has drawn widespread notice. Somewhat less noticed, another journal in the Nature family announced that a Chinese research paper that claimed an advance in a heralded gene-editing alternative to Crispr has been withdrawn.

Produced by the IGCC Project on the
Study of Innovation & Technology in China

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