China is in talks to sell Germany state-of-the-art technology critical in the production of high-performance jet engines, the South China Morning Post reported, quoting an unidentified senior government scientist. The news, although not confirmed, adds to signs that China is one of the leading countries in high-technology exports.
While many have been focusing on China's leading position in exports of labor-intensive products such as electronics, textiles and toys, less attention has been paid to China's high-tech exports.
As early as 2014, China's share of Asia's exports of high-tech goods such as aircraft and telecommunications equipment reportedly rose to 43.7 percent from 9.4 percent in 2000, ending Japan's dominance of Asia's high-technology exports, according to report by the Asian Development Bank.
The US, Russia, the EU, Japan and China are the major players in the world's increasingly competitive high-tech sectors such as aviation and telecoms. Over the past decade, China has proved it is able to catch up with other players, but its progress has been largely based on quantitative growth.
Although the World Intellectual Property Organization said in a report that Chinese innovators filed the most patent applications (1,010,406) in the world in 2015, followed by those from the US (526,296) and Japan (454,285), China still lags behind other countries in terms of some state-of-the-art technologies such as engines and microchips.
However, observers have noted that China has accelerated its development to make breakthroughs in the research of key technologies for the 21st century. In 2014, the Chinese government announced a major initiative to boost the development of its integrated circuit (IC) industry. Semiconductors act as the brains of electronic products from smartphones to guided missiles.
The government's ability to concentrate resources into big projects have fueled China's rise in state-of-the-art technologies, ranging from ICs to the engine sector. Now China is inching toward a harvest in the research of key technologies, and the possible deal involving high-performance jet engines could be seen as a prelude.
Under the "Made in China 2025" strategy, China will soon be able to challenge the West's monopoly in state-of-the-art technologies. It is understandable China's rise may arouse vigilance in countries such as the US. However, while the US continues restrictions on exports of high-tech items and services, the newspaper report saying China is in talks to sell Germany state-of-the-art technology shows China is keeping an open mind about high-tech exports.
It is hoped that China's rise in technologies can be a boon for global innovation and entrepreneurship, rendering fears of a rising China overblown.