Shot in the arm for R&D as Beijing breaks into a sprint in tech war

A customer displaying her Alipay electronic payment confirmation to an employee at a beverage shop in Beijing on Wednesday. China has revolutionised e-commerce and has raced ahead in the fields of artificial intelligence and 5G development, among its
A customer displaying her Alipay electronic payment confirmation to an employee at a beverage shop in Beijing.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
A customer displaying her Alipay electronic payment confirmation to an employee at a beverage shop in Beijing on Wednesday. China has revolutionised e-commerce and has raced ahead in the fields of artificial intelligence and 5G development, among its
Asian Insider Tan Dawn Wei China Bureau Chief In Beijing

For decades, China harnessed its manufacturing prowess to lift the country from poverty, flooding the world with a dizzying array of cheap goods that not only improved lives from Sudan to South Carolina, but also fed a runaway trend of consumerism.

When it finally had enough of being the world's factory and wanted to pursue loftier aspirations, the world, particularly the United States, got worried.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2020, with the headline 'Shot in the arm for R&D as Beijing breaks into a sprint in tech war'. Print Edition | Subscribe