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Trump signs order prioritizing artificial intelligence research amid looming China ambitions

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday directing the U.S. government to prioritize artificial intelligence in its research and development spending, the White House said. The order, which comes amid concerns about China’s ambitions to dominate the sector and the likelihood of disruption for workers as the technology automates millions of jobs, doesn’t outline specific funding goals, but says it aims to ensure that AI develops in a manner that reflects U.S. values and to push training for the future workforce. Is China really snapping at the heels of…

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Shanghai’s hotly anticipated tech board vital to China’s global financial ambitions, says top official

Chinese authorities said they have approached a “handful” of potential IPO candidates for the hotly anticipated new technology board in Shanghai and will soon release draft rules for listings. The rules, to be sent out for a period of public consultation, will govern the listing threshold, trading mechanism and IPO review procedures for the Technology Innovation Board, top government officials said on Tuesday. “We are approaching a handful of IPO prospects in several key technology sectors to help the securities regulator make preparations for the launch of the board,” said…

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Hainan is the latest Chinese free-trade zone with tech hub ambitions

Hainan, an island province known as China’s Hawaii, does not only want to be known for sunshine and beaches: It has set an ambitious goal to become the country’s southern hub for technological innovation. The strategy involves offering tech start-ups free rent, reduced tax rates, easier visa policies, and access to government-backed venture capital funding. The first global tech company to commit to a presence on the island was Microsoft, which signed an MOU with the provincial government in April 2013 for a partnership that would transform Hainan into an…

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Britain’s naval ambitions to once again rule the waves are laughable at best and make no sense at all

The frantic Brexit melodrama in the UK has perhaps inevitably distracted attention from a companion strategy being forged by those nostalgic “Little Englanders” at the heart of Britain’s quest for freedom from Europe – the “Global Britain” plan intended to reburnish Britannica’s standing as a world economic and military power. While the Brexit mess simply fills me with sadness, the sentimental aspirations to rebuild British grandeur as a leading global power are at best a deep embarrassment, and at worst a potentially destabilising development here in east Asia. These “Global…

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Why a US$3.3 billion merger between Citic’s specialist units adds steel to China’s self sufficiency ambitions

Shares in Chinese financial-to-industrial conglomerate Citic gained on Thursday after Daye Special Steel, in which it owns a 58.1 per cent stake, agreed to buy a 86.5 per cent stake in Citic-controlled Xingcheng Special Steel for 23.18 billion yuan (US$3.3 billion). The reverse takeover by Shenzhen-listed Daye, announced in a stock exchange filing late on Wednesday, represents the largest restructuring at state-owned Citic in three years. Citic, which is listed in Hong Kong and is China’s largest conglomerate, is creating an industry leader. It said in a statement the transaction…

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Deutsche Bank ready to help German companies’ China ambitions as trade war pushes Beijing closer to Europe, says Asia chief

Deutsche Bank said it is ready to support German companies’ growing ambitions in China. It expects German firms to increase their investments as the US-China trade war prompts Beijing to deepen its ties with Europe, according to the banking giant’s Asia-Pacific boss. As the trade war with the US escalates, China has become more receptive to proposals by other foreign companies for market access, in a gesture to show the country is still opening up to the rest of the world. In October, German car maker BMW said it would…

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Beijing no longer requires local governments to work on ‘Made in China 2025’, but China’s hi-tech ambitions remain

China has stopped requiring local governments to work on the “Made in China 2025” strategy, the latest directive issued by the central Chinese government to local authorities showed, in a clear sign that Beijing is toning down a policy that has become a centrepiece of its rivalry with the US. However, China will continue to pursue its ambition of becoming an industrial and technological power, with the directive making clear that the initiative has been dropped in name only. Made in China 2025 had the clear target of increasing domestic…

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Huawei CFO’s arrest may pose a threat to China’s global 5G mobile ambitions

China’s push to lead the global development and roll-out of 5G mobile networks could be at risk, following the recent arrest of Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Sabrina Meng Wanzhou. Analysts on Thursday said the arrest and detention in Canada of Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei and the firm’s deputy chairwoman, at the request of US authorities marked a deeper scrutiny of the Shenzhen-based company by Washington even as the two countries agreed to a 90-day trade war truce. “It is not yet clear whether there has…

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Now locked in head-on rivalry, the US once helped China kick-start its science and technology ambitions

One of the darkest eras in China’s modern history, the decade-long Cultural Revolution, was a living nightmare for millions of Chinese, including three intellectuals from Beijing who later went on to study in the US as part of a programme that resulted from normalisation of Sino-US ties in 1979. Yan Dachun recalls being beaten around the lower body with iron batons that broke one fibula. Liu Baicheng had to move to a different city and live separately from his wife when he was forced into hard labour in a state-owned…

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The chip maker caught in US assault on China’s tech ambitions

For a sense of the damage Donald Trump can inflict on China with export controls, take a trip to the city of Jinjiang on the country’s southeastern coast. That is where Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co built a US$6 billion plant to produce semiconductors as part of China’s goal of making the country a self-sufficient technology powerhouse. But after the US President barred exports to the company, its dream is now in tatters with consultants from American suppliers gone, the factories silent and workers rattled. Less than a month ago,…

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