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The Big Picture

The Great Tech Race

As the Trump administration busies itself with propping up legacy industries, China is pursuing a Five-Year Plan that would transform it from a manufacturing powerhouse into an innovation leader. Will Silicon Valley someday play second fiddle to Shenzhen?

In this Big PictureSimon Johnson doesn't rule out that possibility, given that Trump's protectionist, anti-immigration agenda could undercut the US tech industry's competitiveness. Likewise, Edmund S. Phelps notes that the Chinese are realizing the value of competition-driven innovation just when Americans seem to have forgotten it.

But Kenneth Rogoff counters that advances in automation and artificial intelligence will pose even greater political challenges to China than to the US, owing to China’s much larger population. And Laura Tyson reminds US policymakers that they could still adopt a pro-innovation industrial policy of their own, while working alongside allies to keep China honest on trade and intellectual property.

hina Literature Limited CEO Liang Xiaodong and Wu wenhui rase champagne glasses ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP/Getty Images
Thousands of Chinese travellers rush to buy their train tickets at the railway station in Beijing STR/AFP/Getty Images
Chinese employees working on micro and special motors for mobile phones STR/AFP/Getty Images;

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