The United States is doing everything in its power to strangle China’s technological and weapons development. In October 2022, the Administration led by Joe Biden published a document in which it developed in great detail your national security strategy, and, as expected, China occupies a central position in it. The following verbatim excerpt from this document reflects very clearly why the US government considers China a threat:
“The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the only competitor that has both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military and technological capacity to do so. Beijing has the ambition to create a broad sphere of influence in the Indian and Pacific regions, as well as becoming the leading world power”. It is evident that the United States takes China very seriously, although his speech also contains some phrases that seek to ease the tension between the two countries a bit:
“At the same time, the People’s Republic of China also has a central role in the global economy, as well as a significant impact on shared challenges, particularly climate change and global public health. It is possible that the United States and PRC coexist peacefully and jointly contribute to the progress of humanity”. This is the environment. As expected, all this has not taken China by surprise, and it has a plan to defend its interests by safeguarding one of its strategic sectors: its technology industry in general, and that of semiconductors in particular.
Hong Kong, the jewel in China’s crown
Republic of Singapore is a small island country in Southeast Asia. It currently has a little less than six million inhabitants, a figure that places it very far if we stick to its population volume from a large part of its Asian neighbors. However, its economy dares to challenge that of giants such as South Korea, Taiwan or Hong Kong. In fact, it lives with them in a very select club known as “the four Asian tigers” (some analysts prefer to call it “the four Asian dragons”).
Singapore’s technological and industrial muscle is so hypertrophied that China sees it as Hong Kong’s mirror.
The economic, political and social development that Singapore has experienced is worthy of study. In this article we do not need to delve into it in depth, but we are interested in knowing that its economy, like those of Taiwan or South Korea, has grown from the early 1960s until now at breakneck speed as a result of the passage of a economic model that was based on agriculture to a very different one vertebrate around industrial development.
Currently Singapore produces 5% of all the chips that we can find in the world market. It may seem little, but it is not. It is a lot if we bear in mind that China and Japan, which have a much larger population, produce 15 and 17% respectively of the semiconductors on the market. The technological and industrial muscle of this country is so hypertrophied that China considers it the mirror in which Hong Kong must look. The economy of this Chinese city is governed by the free market, and also has one of the largest stock markets on the planet.
A few days ago Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, the chairwoman of the NPP (New People’s Party), which is a very influential conservative political party in Hong Kong, published a very interesting article in which she defends, among other ideas, the implementation in her city of the strategy that has allowed Singapore to consolidate the technological development it currently has. The special administrative regime by which Hong Kong is governed allows China to use this city as a test bed, and, according to Regina Ip, the Government is deploying a plan that seeks to transform this city into an international technology and innovation center clearly inspired by Singapore.
China urgently needs to develop its technology to overcome the sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies
China urgently needs to develop its technology to overcome the sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies. It has the financial resources and the industrial ecosystem to achieve this, but to enable the development of its photolithographic technologies, which is the biggest challenge it faces in a strategic industry such as chips, it needs something more. According to the thesis defended by Ip and other experts, it requires attracting talent from abroad.
This strategy is precisely what has allowed Singapore to sustain the technological development that it has fostered in recent years. However, China does not see the immediate future of Hong Kong only as the powerhouse of its semiconductor industry; It also plans to bring together its development and innovation muscle in the field of quantum computing, artificial intelligence and biomedicine in this city. For China this plan is a priority. Its economic, technological and industrial development is at stake in the face of a Western alliance led by the United States that is not willing to cede an iota of ground. The cards are face up.
Cover image: ASML
More information: US National Security Strategy | South China Morning Post
In Xataka: The West is going to lose the war of the chips: the overwhelming superiority of Asia, in figures