China: An Emerging Technological Superpower?

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They and other Chinese tech giants are investing aggressively in new businesses, helping to transform China into a massive market for venture capital investments. The result: China has spawned a new generation of homegrown entrepreneurs who are creating world-class products, developing their own technologies, and rolling out new business models on a scale and with a speed the global economy has never seen.

To explore the implications of this high-speed economic evolution, Fortune will be convening business leaders from around the globe in Guangzhou, China, in early December at a pair of events: the Fortune Global Forum and the Brainstorm Tech International conference. Another is that Chinese consumers are enthusiastic adapters of new technologies, and that entrepreneurs operate in a developing market unencumbered by legacy infrastructure.

China overtook the U. The result is that China, the land where paper money was invented, is now rapidly going cashless. Internet giant Baidu, China Construction Bank, and ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing use the technology to identify employees as well as customers.

Emerging technology could make China the world’s next innovation superpower

The ranking even factors in the scores of acquaintances. While venture capital continues to pour into China, it is beginning to flow the other way too. And increasingly they are taking their battles with each other overseas—in the form of VC investments outside China. Meanwhile, Ant Financial holds shares in PayTM, the largest ride-sharing venture in India, and has snapped up stakes in fintech companies in Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Meanwhile, Alibaba and Tencent are bankrolling competing dockless bike-sharing companies that launched this year in scores of overseas cities including Washington, D.

In Shanghai, meanwhile, abandoned bicycles from Tencent-backed bike-sharing startup Mobike and Alibaba-backed Ofo have become so numerous that authorities impounded thousands of them earlier this year. Chalk it up to growing pains. But the two have joined forces in ride sharing. That mixed review remains broadly accurate. In the most daunting segments of the economy—semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, commercial aircraft, or high-speed railways—Beijing has held fast to a heavy-handed, statist approach to development that has done more to stymie innovation than stimulate it.

Consider semiconductors. In Washington, Republicans and Democrats have sounded the alarm. The U. Will China dominate the technologies of the future? Beijing has moved forcefully to promote development of artificial intelligence and encourage the use of industrial robots. Last year it bought about 87, robots—or about one in three of , robots sold in the entire global economy. Billions in VC funding are already flowing into Chinese A.

Chinese science, by sector

And in November it agreed to buy U. Toutiao uses A.

Analysts say its content-recommendation tech is among the most sophisticated in the world. If so, remember DJI—and think twice before betting against the Chinese company.

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A version of this article appears in the Dec. All Rights Reserved. Fortune may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice. Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. All rights reserved. Since the internet start-ups that defined China's early tech culture, Chinese technologies have broadened to include cutting-edge areas like artificial intelligence, drones, robots, electric cars and autonomous driving.

China has created a parallel universe to Silicon Valley.

China: An emerging technological superpower?

China's tech titans — the BAT or Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent — have diversified from their original search, e-commerce and gaming businesses. They now span across broad sweeps of the economy, from healthcare to fintech and have bulked up with multi-billion dollar acquisitions in both countries. And as more disruptive business ideas bubble up in China, a core group of experienced Sino-U.

China's tech titans, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, are also funding the next generation of start-ups. Like many Chinese start-ups, Xiaohongshu is focusing on fast growth to chase the market opportunity and is not profitable yet.

Encouraging policy from the top

But as the Trump administration scrutinizes Chinese investment in U. CNBC reported on Tuesday that the head of Sinovation's Silicon Valley office, Chris Evdemon , departed in recent months and informed at least some portfolio companies that the firm was was halting investments in the U. China's domestic innovation has largely been centered on AI and mobile-centric technologies where China has natural advantages. China's smartphone market is million users, the world's largest.

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Most of its young, digitally savvy population skipped right over the personal computer and adapt to new tech quickly, without as much concern for privacy issues as in the U. That has spurred China-originated super apps to wrap in services for payments, food delivery and travel bookings.

Many of China's newer apps rely on sales of virtual goods instead of advertising for monetization, including Chinese second video app Toutiao and music and gaming apps from smartphone maker Xiaomi. These ideas are catching on in the West -- for instance, Facebook is reportedly building a cryptocurrency that could be used to enable transactions in WhatsApp and other messaging apps. Celebrities and ordinary users share their latest tips for fashions, fitness, travel and culture.

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  4. Xiaohongshu, which launched in , has broken out of the pack of Chinese e-commerce sites: Its number of registered users tripled to million in March from a year and a half earlier. This adds up to 3 billion views daily. Another major moment in the race for tech supremacy between the U. China's rise is leading to a major challenge to the U. Shanghai-based YITU specializes in speech recognition and computer vision for medical imaging and diagnostics and was started by an overseas returnee, Zhu Long, a Ph. Experts predict that this sort of entrepreneurial talent, coupled with China's government support and venture capital funding, will continue to tilt the innovation wheel eastward to China.

    Fannin, author of the book "Tech Titans of China," to be released in June. Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC delivered to your inbox. Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about our products and services. Privacy Policy. All Rights Reserved. Data also provided by. Skip Navigation. Key Points. China's technology ambitions in its Made in China policy initiative has been a bone of contention in the U. Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.