The United States and other western countries are losing the race with China to develop advanced technologies and retain talent, with Beijing potentially establishing a monopoly in some areas, a new report has said.
China leads in 37 of 44 technologies tracked in a year-long project by think tank the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The fields include electric batteries, hypersonics and advanced radio-frequency communications such as 5G and 6G.
The report, published on Thursday, said the US was the leader in just the remaining seven technologies such as vaccines, quantum computing and space launch systems.
It said the findings were based on “high impact” research in critical and emerging technology fields, focusing on papers that were published in top-tier journals and were highly cited by subsequent research.
“Our research reveals that China has built the foundations to position itself as the world’s leading science and technology superpower, by establishing a sometimes stunning lead in high-impact research across the majority of critical and emerging technology domains,” the report said.
“The critical technology tracker shows that, for some technologies, all of the world’s top 10 leading research institutions are based in China and are collectively generating nine times more high-impact research papers than the second-ranked country (most often the US).”
The Chinese Academy of Sciences ranked first or second in most of the 44 technologies included in the tracker, the report added.
“We also see China’s efforts being bolstered through talent and knowledge import: one-fifth of its high-impact papers are being authored by researchers with postgraduate training in a Five-Eyes country,” it said, referring to the intelligence-sharing grouping of the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
“China’s lead is the product of deliberate design and long-term policy planning, as repeatedly outlined by Xi Jinping and his predecessors.”
Joe Biden said in his State of the Union address last month that the US was “investing in American innovation, in industries that will define the future, and that China’s government is intent on dominating”.
But the institute said China was at high risk of establishing a monopoly in eight technologies, including nanoscale materials and manufacturing, hydrogen and ammonia for power, and synthetic biology.
The report said China’s strides in nuclear-capable hypersonic missiles in 2021 should not have been a surprise to US intelligence agencies “because, according to our data analysis, over the past five years, China generated 48.49% of the world’s high-impact