GUANGZHOU, China — China is seeking to enhance analysis into what it calls “frontier expertise” together with quantum computing and semiconductors, because it competes with the U.S. for supremacy within the newest improvements.
In its five-year improvement plan, the 14th of its form, Beijing mentioned it might make “science and expertise self-reliance and self-improvement a strategic pillar for nationwide improvement,” based on a CNBC translation.
Premier Li Keqiang mentioned on Friday that China would improve analysis and improvement spending by greater than 7% per yr between 2021 and 2025, in pursuit of “main breakthroughs” in expertise.
China’s expertise champions corresponding to Huawei and SMIC have been focused by U.S. sanctions as tensions between Beijing and Washington have ramped up previously few years.
As such, China has targeting boosting its home experience in areas it sees as strategically vital, corresponding to semiconductors. And now it has laid out seven “frontier applied sciences” that it’ll prioritize not only for the following 5 years, however past too.
1) Synthetic intelligence (AI)
China plans to deal with specialised chip improvement for AI purposes and growing so-called open supply algorithms. Open supply expertise is normally developed by one entity and licensed by different firms.
There may also be an emphasis on machine studying in areas corresponding to choice making. Machine studying is the event of AI applications educated on huge quantities of knowledge. This system “learns” as it’s fed extra information.
AI has been a key subject for Chinese language firms and the central authorities over the previous couple of years. Main firms corresponding to Alibaba and Baidu have been investing within the expertise.
China and the U.S. are competing for AI dominance. A gaggle of consultants chaired by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said China could soon replace the U.S. as the world’s “AI superpower.”
2) Quantum information
Semiconductors are a critical area for China and one it has invested a lot in over the past few years but the country has struggled to catch up to the U.S., Taiwan and South Korea.
The problem is the complexity of the semiconductor supply chain. Taiwan’s TSMC and South Korea’s Samsung are the two most advanced chip manufacturers but they rely on tools from the U.S. and Europe.
Washington has put SMIC, China’s biggest chip manufacturer, on an export blacklist called the Entity List. SMIC cannot get its hands on American technology. And the U.S. has reportedly pushed to stop Dutch company ASML from shipping a key tool that could help SMIC catch up to rivals.
Since China doesn’t have the companies that can design and make the tools that its chip manufacturers require, it relies on companies from other countries. This is something China wants to change.
In its five-year plan, China says it will focus on research and development in integrated circuit design tools, key equipment and key materials.
Chips are incredibly important because they go into many of the devices we use such as smartphones but are also important for other industries.
4) Brain science
China plans to research areas such as how to stop diseases of the brain.
But it also says that it plans to look into “brain-inspired computing” as well as “brain-computer fusion technology,” according to a CNBC translation. The five-year plan did not elaborate on what that could look like.
China laid out seven “frontier” technologies in its 14th Five Year Plan. These are areas that China will focus research on and include semiconductors and brain-computer fusion.
Yuichiro Chino | Moment | Getty Images
However, such work is already underway in the U.S. at Elon Musk’s company Neuralink. Musk is working on implantable brain-chip interfaces to connect humans and computers.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus last year, biotechnology has grown in importance.
China says it will focus on “innovative vaccines” and “research on biological security.”
China’s research will concentrate on understanding the progression of cancer, cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic diseases.
The government also says that it will research some “cutting-edge” treatment technologies such as regenerative medicine. This involves medicine that can regrow or repair damaged cells, tissues and organs.
China says it will also be looking at key technologies in the prevention and treatment of major transmissible diseases.
Space exploration has been a top priority for China recently. Beijing said it will focus on research into the “origin and evolution of the universe,” exploration of Mars as well as deep sea and polar research.
In December, a Chinese spacecraft returned to Earth carrying rocks from the moon. It was the first time China has launched a spacecraft from an extraterrestrial body and the first time it has collected moon samples.
And in July, China launched a mission to Mars called Tianwen -1.
— CNBC’s Iris Wang contributed to this report.