China denting US tech dominance, leads in 37 of 44 fields, claims report

Hypersonic technology, electric batteries, and modern radio frequency communications like 5G and 6G are some of the fields.
Ameya Paleja
Stock photo:  China leads US in tech race.
Stock photo: China leads US in tech race.


The U.S. and other western countries are lagging behind China when it comes to developing advanced technologies, a recently released report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute has said.

Beijing is also in a position to maintain a monopoly in some of these areas, the report warned.

The U.S. - China relations have been on the boil over the past few years over trade tariffs, political support to countries like North Korea, and the latter's growing ambitions in the South China Sea.

However, in the backdrop of these issues, China seems to be racing ahead of the U.S. and its western allies when it comes to developing new technology.

How was China's lead measured?

During a year-long assessment, the think-tank measured the research output of multiple countries in areas of advanced technologies. This was done by focusing on papers that were published in top-tier journals and how they were cited in subsequent research.

According to the analysis, China has built the foundations "to position itself as the world's leading science and technology superpower."

Assessment of critical technologies showed that all the top 10 of the world's leading research organizations were based in China. Together, these were producing nine times as many "high-impact" research papers than the second-placed country, which was usually the U.S.

China denting US tech dominance, leads in 37 of 44 fields, claims report
Artist's representation of hypersonic missile

The report cited China's marked ascendancy in nuclear-capable hypersonic weapon development, where it trumped the U.S. as an example of its research prowess. Over the past five years, Chinese researchers generated 48.49 percent of the world's high-impact papers in hypersonics and advanced aircraft engines, while China is home to seven of the world's top 10 research institutions in this subject area.

The Chinese Academy of Science ranked first or second in most of the 44 technologies tracked by the think tank, and China led in 37 of these technology areas. These included upcoming areas like electric batteries, hypersonics, and advanced radio-frequency communication like 5G and 6G.

The report warned that China was potentially also in a position to establish its monopoly in eight areas, such as nanoscale materials and manufacturing, hydrogen and ammonia-based power generation, as well as synthetic biology- applying engineering principles to develop new biological systems.

After China-U.S. dominance, a string of countries such as India, the U.K., South Korea, Germany, Australia, and others occupied a second tier of countries that make technological developments in these areas.

The think tank recommends that these countries allocate up to 0.7 percent of their gross national income for research and development projects in these areas.