23 Aug 2018

What’s really behind the U.S. – China trade war?

The world is in a race to leverage 5G technology.

China is clearly winning that race right now (which means the U.S. isn’t…and some actions might indicate they are sore losers).

5G - the next generation of wireless technology - is quite possibly the most important infrastructure project the world has ever seen. Cisco estimates that 50 Billion devices globally will be connected to the internet by 2020.

What does this have to do with trade tension you ask? First, you have to understand the implications of the ongoing shift to hypoconnectivity.  

5G networks promise faster and virtually unlimited access to data. Devices powered by Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) are becoming faster, smarter and more reliable. Smart cities and autonomous vehicles aren't far off.  

The world is in a race to leverage this technology. And China is clearly winning that race right now. Consider:  

  • China is investing $150 Billion in A.I.
  • China is building a $10 Billion quantum computing centre
  • 40% of all A.I.-related academic papers are published in Chinese

China is already leading the pack in quantum communications, A.I., cybersecurity and gene editing. And many Chinese researchers understand English. This fact more than any places the Chinese at a huge advantage. They have access to and understanding of English research. While a huge language barrier limits Western understanding of Chinese breakthroughs.  

What does it all mean?  

It could mean that the U.S. - China trade tensions are actually something very, very different. Perhaps it's about distraction. Perhaps it's about leverage. Perhaps it's just a desperate move by a desperate man. But regardless, we've seen time and time again that things are rarely as straightforward as they seem. And there are sure to be more questions before we start getting real answers.  

What's your take on the trade tensions? What other agendas might be at play? And how will these agendas shape the future of new technologies and industries worldwide? What would it mean to the Western world if China were to win the race to smart cities and autonomous vehicles?  

We look forward to getting into some interesting conversations. If you're interested in future-casting and thought-fuelled conversation, you should join us for Outlook 2019. Attendees of Outlook get our wholly independent interpretation on the state of the world markets as well as guidance on investment strategies. Hope to see you there.  


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