21:33 GMT04 March 2021
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    The news comes as the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced on Tuesday it would back mainland and foreign enterprises in the nation's semiconductor sector to boost production of integrated circuits, a South China Morning Post (SCMP) report revealed.

    China must adopt a "whole country" approach to mobilising the nation's private enterprises to decouple from foreign technologies in the ongoing trade war against Beijing, a top official in the Chinese Communist Party wrote on Monday.

    It would be Beijing's "inevitable choice" to decouple after Washington slapped mainland tech firms with trade restrictions, Jiang Jinquan, Central Policy Research Office head wrote in the Study Times as quoted by the SCMP.

    But China's technological capabilities had shortcomings, exposing the nation to vulnerabilities to foreign sanctions, he said.

    “In the semiconductor industry, China’s production capacity accounted for only 7 per cent of the global total but China’s demand accounted for 33 per cent of global total. As a result, China has to rely on imports to meet over 80 per cent of domestic demand for semiconductor products,” he wrote as quoted by the SCMP.

    Jiang added the United States was imposing a "technology blockade" over China to "significantly disrupt" external technology exchanges and cooperation.

    "[It’s] an inevitable choice [for China] to seek a self-dependent and self-empowerment strategy in the technology sector,” Jiang added.

    China's strategic goal was to develop "autonomous capabilities in key industrial areas" to reduce reliance on foreign technologies, key components, equipment and others, "especially those from Western countries", he explained.

    As China depended on imports for more than half of its "high-end equipment, software, and key components", the country should pool its available resources to achieve major progress in "strategic and fundamental key science and technology products" to avoid "being strangled by others at the neck", he said, citing a metaphor used by Chinese president Xi Jinping.

    Beijing must also build "national teams" to strengthen scientific research and development (R&D) in key application areas, he said, adding backing private firms in R&D with "state purchase of research results" would boost such efforts.

    China Rise in the Ongoing US Trade War on China

    The article follows a report published on Monday, which found China's artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities were catching up to the US and had surpassed the European Union after major gains in supercomputing, investment and R&D.

    The achievements come amid a massive $1.4tn funding programme launched by the Chinese State Council in October last year aimed at building infrastructure, green energy, 5G, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies.

    Chinese tech giants, including Huawei Technologies and Shanghai-based semiconductor firm SMIC, also launched a $774m China Europe Capital fund in 2020 to boost mainland firms hit by Washington's trade restrictions.

    The article comes just after President Xi opened the World Economic Forum 2021 in Davos, where he urged cooperation on tackling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen multilateral institutions aimed at resolving global crises.

    The Chinese president also slammed the 'New Cold War' from nations disrupting and sanctioning Beijing, stating such protectionist measures would "only push the world into division and even confrontation", he said at the time.

    China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported last week its economy had grown 2.3 percent in 2020 and 6.5 percent in Q4 amid COVID-19, due to its strict COVID-19 restrictions and emergency aid for businesses, leading to a quick recovery.

    Beijing also inked two major deals - the $26.2tn Regional Cooperative Economic Partnership (RCEP) and China-EU Cooperative Trade agreement - ahead of Biden's inauguration, sparking fierce concerns from Washington.

    The geopolitical shifts come after former US president Donald Trump's acrimonious trade war with Beijing, which targeted top mainland tech firms such as Huawei Technologies, ZTE, chipmaker SMIC, Tencent Holdings, ByteDance and others.

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    China Catching Up to US in Artificial Intelligence, Brexit to Hit EU's AI Capabilities, Report Says
    Heavy is the Head: China's State Council Pledges $1.4tn to Take Top Spot From US as Global Tech King
    Xi Jinping Urges World to Reject 'New Cold War', Tackle COVID-19, Global Crises at WEF 2021 in Davos
    Tags:
    Chinese State Council, China's State Council, Chinese Communist Party, emerging technologies, technology, tech wars, US-China trade war, semiconductors, China
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