CHINA - The Battle for Digital Supremacy

Arno Froese

“DESIGNED by Apple in California. Assembled in China.” For the past decade the words embossed on the back of iPhones have served as shorthand for the technological bargain between the world’s two biggest economies: America supplies the brains and China the brawn.

Not anymore. China’s world-class tech giants, Alibaba and Tencent, have market values of around $500bn, rivaling Facebook’s. China has the largest online-payments market. Its equipment is being exported across the world. It has the fastest supercomputer. It is building the world’s most lavish quantum-computing research center. Its forthcoming satellite-navigation system will compete with America’s GPS by 2020.

To understand what America’s strategy should be, first define the problem. It is entirely natural for a continent-sized, rapidly growing economy with a culture of scientific inquiry to enjoy a technological renaissance. Already, China has one of the biggest clusters of AI scientists. It has over 800m internet users, more than any other country, which means more data on which to hone its new AI. The technological advances this brings will benefit countless people, Americans among them. For the United States to seek to keep China down merely to preserve its place in the pecking order by, say, further balkanizing the internet, is a recipe for a poorer, discordant—and possibly warlike—world.

Yet it is one thing for a country to dominate televisions and toys, another the core information technologies. They are the basis for the manufacture, networking and destructive power of advanced weapons systems. More generally, they are often subject to extreme network effects, in which one winner establishes an unassailable position in each market. This means that a country may be squeezed out of vital technologies by foreign rivals pumped up by state support. In the case of China, those rivals answer to an oppressive authoritarian regime that increasingly holds itself up as an alternative to liberal democracy—particularly in its part of Asia. China insists that it wants a win-win world. America has no choice but to see Chinese technology as a means to an unwelcome end.

-www.economist.com, 15 March 2018

Arno's commentary

There seems to be no stopping communist China’s technological advancement. It is not a question of “if” but only “when” China will supplant America’s number one position in the world. The article further states: “Eric Schmidt, the former chairman of Alphabet, Google’s parent, has warned that China will overtake America in artificial intelligence (AI) by 2025.”

What’s the good news? It is that the Church in China is growing by leaps and bounds. While restrictions on practicing religion are sometimes severe, literally millions of Chinese, who have been deprived of religious freedom, are breaking through to a living faith in Jesus Christ. Thus, the Church is being built, and with China’s communist-generated economy, prosperity is reaching the furthest corners of the country. With prosperity, religion will thrive in China too.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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