Economic Watch: Sino-U.S. tech cooperation holds broad potential despite trade frictions

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-27 18:28:26|Editor: Yurou
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BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Despite growing trade tensions between China and the United States, China's manufacturing capability, broad market and more open business environment appeal to U.S. technology firms.

Together with 30 Chinese entrepreneurs, Wang Yuquan, co-founder of Haiyin Capital, will make his third trip to the United States in October, looking for opportunities to cooperate with American high-tech companies.

Haiyin Capital, a Chinese venture capital firm that invests in global high-tech companies, has introduced the U.S. high-tech firm Wicab, with its BrainPort technology helping the blind "see with the tongue," to China.

"The growing trade tensions do not appear to have affected U.S. tech firms' determination to invest in China," said He Zhigang, CEO of Innovationmap, a startup company founded by Haiyin Capital, which is devoted to connecting Chinese enterprises with global innovation firms.

Wicab, for example, with a factory in China, could get closer to its potential customers as there are over 5 million blind people in China.

Noting that the high-tech industry requires a lot of investment, research and hard work, He said small companies like Wicab could benefit from scale effects and productivity gains from China's technologically advanced manufacturing.

During his last visit to Georgia, North Carolina and Washington, D.C. in May, He found that despite the U.S. administration's rising protectionism against Chinese investment, local officials and business communities showed a strong willingness to cooperate with Chinese partners and were ready to offer preferential measures to bring in Chinese investors.

International tech giants including Microsoft and Amazon will establish AI-related innovation centers and research institutes in Shanghai, which was announced at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference 2018 earlier this month.

China is willing to share the development opportunities in the digital economy with other countries, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a letter of congratulations to the opening of the conference.

A web of interconnected universities, researchers, supply chains, and capital flows is now emerging in the global technology industry, and cooperation across a wide range of industries in different countries is needed for R&D and technology application, said He.

In the short term, the ongoing China-U.S. trade frictions might lead to inefficiency, higher costs, and less innovation among U.S. firms, dampening their willingness to invest in China, said He.

However, He noted, China still has long-term appeal as it is working harder to improve the business environment and strengthen intellectual property right (IPR) protection, for both Chinese and foreign enterprises.

"We have been increasing our investment in China. Every year we bring in more capital expenditures because the market is still growing and the environment is becoming friendlier," an unnamed director of government relations in a U.S. chemical company was quoted as saying in the 2018 China Business Climate Survey Report released by the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

In the first eight months of the year, the number of new overseas-funded companies established in China more than doubled from a year earlier to 41,331, Ministry of Commerce data showed.

During the period, foreign direct investment into the Chinese mainland in dollar terms grew 6.1 percent year on year to 86.5 billion U.S. dollars, with investment from the United States in China up 23.6 percent.