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

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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