The tech industry is, once again, a battlefield. Technological developments, the prevalence of dual-use technologies, the power of data, and the weaponisation of interdependencies are all ammunition fueling this war. More importantly, the rise of China, especially with its Made in China 2025 policy and the change in the meaning of national security, ignited this front that once decisively impacted the global contest against formidable foes, such as the USSR and Japan.
The main warring sides in today’s tech war are the US and China. Both aim to protect their national security and be tomorrow’s leaders. For Washington, the main goal is to achieve tech breakthroughs while preventing Beijing’s advancement in this field via economic coercion. China’s strategy is the reverse: Circumventing US attempts to slow down its technological self-sufficiency while delivering some quantum leaps.
Considering the recent developments, neither party can claim a victory any time soon. Aggressive measures adopted in the short term, i.e., in 2-3 years, affect supply chains, create uncertainty, and result in retaliatory actions. Thus, the direct cost of such measures for countries’ own industries is high.
In the long run, victory is theoretically possible if the emerging victor increases R&D funding and becomes self-sufficient. Even then, retaliatory measures should be removed and collaboration should be increased. Such steps are necessary to reduce incurred damages and stabilise the tech domain by adopting clear and consistent policies.
This discussion paper explores the contours of the tech war involving the US and China while examining the prospects for short-term and long- term victory.Download the Discussion Paper