The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the investment arm of a larger Chinese attempt at redefining globalisation with “Chinese characteristics”. One of its open questions is the likely effect of BRI’s promised massive investment across geographies on global industry and global innovation.
In China, it is very likely that an army of robots will soon replace the terracotta one. After all, President Xi Jinping himself called it in 2014: "the robot revolution".
"Internet security and informatization are important and urgent. The dual goals of security and development are like two wings of a bird and two wheels of an engine. No internet safety means no national security. No informatization means no modernization": it was February 2014, and Chinese president Xi Jinping chaired the first meeting of the "Cybersecurity and Informatization Leading Group" (CILG), a new body of the Chinese government in charge of all cyber affairs, including political, economic, cultural and military issues.
Made in China 2025, first announced by premier Li Keqiang in 2015, is the comprehensive plan to modernize the country, bringing it to a new stage of development and industrialization, with the final objective to quickly transform China from a big manufacturing country to a strong manufacturing one (加快从制造大国转向制造强国 – jiakuai cong zhizao daguo zhuanxiang zhizao qiangguo). This project will unfold in three main phases: the first one focuses on the Chinese overall industrialization process.
If China wants to achieve its goal of upgrading the industrial sector, it should seriously take into consideration local governments as they play a relevant role. China, indeed, is not a single entity, but rather a combination of 31 provincial administrative units, each of them characterized by specific features and unequal level of economic development.
The trade war started by the United States against China has been designed as the response to the MIC2025 initiative, the first of a three-stage plan aimed at establishing China as global manufacturing and technological power by 2049.* It is widely acknowledged that China’s industry is today very large – the so-called world factory – but not technologically strong.