February 02, 2011

U.S. Hits the Technology Battleground with China


While thousands of American combat troops have recently made their way home after fighting on Iraq soil, other American “soldiers” are gearing up for another type of battle – one that doesn’t involve heavy artillery and uniforms, however.

Instead of weapons of mass destruction being the problem, the issue at hand is global technology dominance. And, the enemy this time, is China.

As President Barack Obama discussed in his most recent State of the Union address, a battle is currently brewing between United States business and China after Chinese bureaucrats rolled out a blueprint for how to make their country a global technology powerhouse by 2020, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"It's a huge, long-term strategic issue," said a top executive at a U.S. technology firm operating in China. "It isn't just the crisis of the day for U.S. business. It's the crisis."

Since 2009, China has been attempting to change the way the technology game is played by introducing new interlocking regulations and state spending. The new initiatives include instituting patent laws that favor Chinese companies to mandates that require other foreign companies to transfer technology to China if they hope to sell in that market.

The President weighed in on these initiatives during last week’s address, touting China and other countries for its technological advances but warning that the United States needs to keep up.

“Nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own they could compete in this new world, so they started educating their children younger, earlier and longer, and with greater emphasis on math and science,” Obama said. “They are investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became the home to the world’s largest private solar research facility and the world’s fastest computer.”

“We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time; we need to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world,” he added, which was met with a standing ovation.

Despite the President’s reminder of what needs to be done, the United States Chamber of Commerce is still dealing with the very real effects of this tech war, which is evidenced by complaints from many companies.

Recently, the chamber fashioned a report to measure the scope of China’s actions. It found an "intricate web" of new rules "considered by many international technology companies to be a blueprint for technology theft on a scale the world has never seen before," as stated in the Wall Street Journal article.

The 44-page report, "China's Drive for 'Indigenous Innovation': A Web of Industrial Policies,” details the new difficulties foreign companies face.  with China.

As the President stated in his speech, one of the best ways to compete in the burgeoning technology world is to promote the sharing of ideas and foster creativity. Rather than get tied down in legalities as to whether China can impose mandates and regulations, perhaps America should spend time making sure it innovators, inventors and developers have the resources and finances necessary to turn dreams into realities.

Next week, the President is scheduled to visit Penn State University to tour university labs focused on solutions for energy–efficient buildings to help boost American innovation. Meetings like this are a step in the right direction.

Innovation spawns ideas and ideas lead to growth. The American technology market depends on innovation — the greatest weapon when at war.

Want to learn more about how federal regulations are shaping and re-defining communications and information technology? Then be sure to attend the Regulatory 2.0 Workshop, collocated with TMC’s (News - Alert) ITEXPO East, taking place Feb 2-4, 2011, in Miami. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski (News - Alert) has pursued the singular goal of ubiquitous broadband access to an open Internet. While some progress has been made, the most difficult decisions are ahead. What's the Commission to do? This program will examine the important issues facing the FCC (News - Alert) including net neutrality, inter-carrier compensation and universal service reform, new CALEA legislation, next generation 911, additional spectrum for wireless broadband and the evolving role of state regulation. To register, click here.


Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication’s social media initiaitives. Carrie holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a bachelor’s degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin
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