Silicon Valley’s innovation power wanes

By GT staff reporters Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/3 20:33:40

Chinese tech firms rise up via leading technologies, wide applications

A view of Facebook's exhibition stand at the first China International Import Expo in November 2018 in Shanghai Photo: cnsphoto

US technology supremacy as represented by Silicon Valley, renowned for its world class high-tech companies and thousands of growing start-ups, has seen signs of being shaken by rising Chinese tech firms, as the Valley has obviously slowed its pace of innovation.

Such factors as purchasing small but disruptive technology start-ups by big tech giants and lack of inclusive environment have made the famed technology center become lackluster, analyst said.

"As Silicon Valley's innovation has been mainly built by immigrant entrepreneurs, US President Donald Trump's crackdown on immigration spells the region's decline in innovation," Liu Gang, director of the Nankai Institute of Economics and chief economist at the Chinese Institute of New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Strategies, told the Global Times Monday.

By contrast, Shenzhen, in South China's Guangdong Province, is now replacing Silicon Valley to become a new global innovation center for its inclusiveness and city vitality, Liu said, noting that China's domestic tech boom is attracting a growing return of skilled talent from overseas, especially from the US.

When it comes to customer products, Silicon Valley's innovation ability has waned, a former employee who works at a major US tech firm, told the Global Times Monday.

For instance, WeChat and TikTok, products that Chinese firms developed - which survived despite very fierce domestic competition are way better than their US counterparts, said the person, who asked to remain anonymous. 

But for some cutting-edge technology such as the semiconductor sector, the US still retains its edge, at least for now, the person said.

Chinese billionaire businessman Huang Zheng, who created the NASDAQ-listed Pinduoduo in 2015, started working for Google as an engineer in 2004 and then returned to China to start his own business.

Liu said that internet giants in Silicon Valley tend to strive for innovation in terms of ideas and concepts instead of technologies and applications, which led to their declining growth in tech innovation.

"US tech firms tend to acquire small firms for new businesses like maps or artificial intelligence (AI) rather than carrying out original innovation, but Chinese companies are increasingly capable of concept, business model and technology innovation. For example, TikTok overshadows Facebook in the short-video sector," he said.

That TikTok has become the latest target of the US government speaks of the success of the super app in catching the world's eyes backed by its AI technologies and mature operations experience, analysts said. 

The rapid rise speed of TikTok has aroused Facebook's concern over recent years as it worries if TikTok would finally shake its dominant position.

The US' technological supremacy was built on openness and inclusiveness, but now, it has abandoned the key values that contributed to its success over the past decades by sticking to a narrow-minded foreign policy that will hamper its technological improvement in the future, Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based industry analyst, told the Global Times Monday.

Unilateralism, attacking and killing whoever is stronger than it only marks the beginning of the fall of the US, Liu said.

In recent research, Liu Gang and his team found that Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has climbed higher than domestic internet firms like Alibaba and Tencent, showcasing that core technology innovation is further replacing business model innovation to become key competitiveness. 


blog comments powered by Disqus