China technology innovation turn into Technological Miracle
A Chinese time machine might transport one of its 1.4 billion residents back to the late 1970s, where he or she would be trapped in a world fueled by kerosene lamps and devoid of technological devices. Mail carriers would be responsible for keeping in touch with family and friends. It would take hours or days to traverse long distances by rail because of the slow speed of the locomotive. Shopping for groceries would need the use of multiple stamps for different products.
All of these are examples of what life was like for the average Chinese person prior to the country embarking on what has been an unprecedented journey toward becoming a moderately prosperous society in all respects, or xiaokang, which is the term used by late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1979 to describe China’s goal of modernization, a concept that dates back 2,500 years.
It’s possible that China will be unable to construct a time machine. However, the transformations brought about by the country’s scientific and technological achievements for ordinary Chinese people over the past four decades or so have been just as magical as they have been miraculous in their own right.
Kerosene lamps have been phased out in favour of smart lights that can be controlled by voice command or even by the mere presence of a person and are powered by more environmentally friendly energies, thanks to technical advances in a variety of fields. Mail carriers have been replaced with 5G-enabled equipment, guaranteeing that family and friends are always just a button press away from you. Trains that were formerly sluggish have been replaced by trains that are ultra-fast and efficient. And if you have to show up at all to buy groceries, you may only need to scan your face in order to complete the transaction.
The advancement of science and technology has altered the lives of people in nearly every country on the planet over the past four decades. But no country on the planet can match the speed and magnitude of change that has occurred in China. To be honest, what China technology innovation has accomplished in terms of scientific and technological achievements is nothing short of a miraculous achievement.
Chinese science and technology advancements are difficult to pinpoint because the network is a world leader in a wide range of fields, from renewable energy to 5G networks, high-speed rail to artificial intelligence (AI), and has a large number of world-leading enterprises.
A number of statistics may help to put things in perspective. China’s yearly research and development (R&D) spending has increased 169 times since the beginning of the 1990s, when it was roughly 14.3 billion yuan ($2.21 billion). By 2020, it will be 2.44 trillion yuan ($2.44 trillion). According to the exchange rate conversion, China’s total R&D expenditures surpassed those of Japan in 2013, making it the world’s second largest after the United States.
China’s patent applications grew from zero in 1985 to 68,720 filings in 2020, surpassing the United States for the first time in 2019. Since 2011, China has been the world’s leading source of patent filings, and in 2019 it surpassed the United States. In addition, China has surpassed the United States in terms of the number of academic research articles published in 2016.
The rapid advancement of China’s scientific and technology skills is a crucial component of the country’s xiaokang goal, which includes a broad range of objectives such as economic growth, poverty alleviation, and technological innovation. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who also serves as the general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said that the target had been achieved on July 1, and he advocated for continuous development of the country’s scientific and technological capabilities.
The Communist Party of China’s next centennial goal of transforming China into a modern socialist power by 2050 includes technological innovation and independence as a major aspect of the strategy. According to commentators, China is well-positioned to become a technology superpower as part of the socialist modernization process, thanks to the CPC’s strong leadership, innovation-driven strategies, and distinctive institutional strength.
According to Sun Fuquan, vice president of the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Sciences, “the institutional advantage of socialism with Chinese characteristics, as reflected in the CPC’s centralised and unified leadership, is also a key factor driving the nation to concentrate its efforts on major tasks in order to make breakthroughs in areas that are closely related to national security and core competitiveness.”
Recent technology leaders throughout the world, most prominently those in the United States, have grown increasingly concerned about China’s technological ascendancy, and some have taken steps to curb China’s rise. Although technological advancements made under the xiaokang goal were primarily intended to improve the living conditions for Chinese citizens, analysts have noted that Beijing is pursuing even greater advances in science and technology with the goal of improving the lives of the Chinese people in the future.
It is important to consider how China’s achievements over the past several decades have fundamentally transformed the most basic areas of life that many people have taken for granted in order to comprehend where the country is headed in terms of how future technology could impact lives.
Kerosene lamp to green brightness
China’s rise as the world’s second-largest economy has been well supported by the country’s miraculous advancement in terms of power, according to experts, who point to the country’s electricity market design, which emphasises a wide-reaching network of ultra-high voltage (UHV) transmission lines and a gradual shift toward renewable energy.
Such a miracle appears to cast a shadow over the United States, which is still plagued by blackouts as a result of delayed UHV progress and an over-reliance on non-renewable energy sources, both of which pose serious threats to the stability of the country’s power supply.
An elderly woman with the surname Xing from East China’s Anhui Province recalled herself as a young woman in her mid-20s when the xiaokang aim was first established, telling the Global Times that a typical nightlife scene back then consisted of family members gathered around a candlelight dinner. When electricity became available later on, kerosene lamps, candles, and flashlights remained viable alternatives throughout the early days when electricity was first made available.
Over the course of four decades, she has come to rely on the brightness of bulbs wherever she goes, and she even has a collection of color-changing lighting devices that respond to her touch and can be matched to music. She claims she has been accustomed to living in the company of a diverse range of household equipment and electronic gadgets.
Throughout the years, as the country’s economy has gained steam, the country’s energy consumption has skyrocketed in tandem with the inflow of numerous digital gadgets into Chinese households.
Last year, the country’s electricity usage increased by 3.1 percent over the previous year, reaching 7.51 trillion kilowatt hours, according to official figures. According to media reports, China’s electricity consumption was merely 276.2 billion kilowatt hours in 1979.
The country’s energy revolution, which has made varied sources of power an increasingly crucial aspect of its technical progress, lies at the heart of its vicissitudes.
Having put in place a nationwide network of ultrahigh-voltage transmission lines that can transmit energy over long distances, connecting remote interior regions with abundant solar, wind, hydroelectric, and nuclear power to energy-hungry coastal regions, China has taken the lead in enabling efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly power transmission. China has taken the lead in enabling efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly power transmission.
The transition underway toward renewable energy sources, particularly solar and wind power, is considered to be the cornerstone of the Chinese economy’s goal of reaching peak emissions by 2030 and being carbon neutral by 2060, according to the World Bank.
In contrast, the United States, a major global energy producer and consumer, has made only slow progress toward the construction of a powerful national electricity grid, despite the fact that a UHV transmission superstructure is widely regarded as a solution to the ageing transmission infrastructure that is crippling the country.
Mail carriers to 5G network
Similarly, the giant leap China has made in eventually establishing itself as the world leader in 5G has alarmed the United States, which has gone to great lengths to sanction Chinese 5G equipment vendors, notably Huawei, according to industry observers. They attribute the country’s continued, forward-looking commitments to updating its telecom infrastructure for the benefit of its citizens and businesses.
The anticipation of the arrival of mail carriers in order to make a delayed connection with your friends or family members, as well as the thrill of making a call on a public rotary dial telephone, were among the commonplace things in the earlier decades that were only emblems portrayed in some television episodes or movies from that era, among other things.
It is now widely recognised as the global paradise for mobile communications, where tech-savvy users with at least one smartphone are now deeply immersed in a mobile internet-linked world, which includes real-time video calls or conferences, geographically unbound mobile payments, shopping, food ordering, and taxi hailing, among other activities that are a part of everyday life in this country.
By the end of 2020, the number of mobile phone subscribers in China would have surpassed 1.59 billion people. In stark contrast, there were just 3,000 customers in 1988, when China became the first country to introduce mobile communications for the first time in the country’s history.
A total of 989 million internet users in China will be accessing the online by the end of 2020, taking advantage of fast connectivity speeds and a diverse range of internet content available on the internet. In stark contrast, only 620,000 people were able to gain access to the internet in 1997, the year that marked China’s entry into the modern era of the internet.
According to the most recent official data, the country has deployed 916,000 5G base stations, accounting for 70% of the world’s total, and it is already home to over 365 million 5G-connected devices, accounting for 80% of the world’s total.
The development of China as a worldwide leader in the 5G era, with domestic heavyweights like as Huawei sitting atop the world’s 5G-related patents, has alarmed the international community, particularly the United States. Over the past few years, the United States government has gone to great lengths to add an increasing number of Chinese entities and businesses to its export control and sanction lists, a situation that has caused it to feel constantly on edge.
China, on the other hand, has stepped up its efforts to gain a competitive advantage in next-generation wireless communication.
Shanghai, where the Pudong New Place has just been designated as a pioneer area for socialist modernization in the coming decades, announced a plan on July 21 for the development of strategic, emerging sectors during the 14th Five-Year Plan, which is a significant step forward (2021-25). Breakthroughs in 6G core technologies, as well as active involvement in 6G standardisation competitions, are prioritised in the company’s development plan.
Isolation to high-speed travel
High-speed rail (HSR) technology and bullet trains are now almost instantly associated with China, in yet another example of the country’s meteoric rise in the technological world. However, it is China’s rapid and impressive progress in HSR technology that has led many people to forget that the world’s first HSR system, which began operations in Japan, was actually developed first. Observers have argued that the country’s concentration on refining its edge in higher-end manufacturing strengthens the argument for the HSR miracle.
Liu, a regular traveller, was riding on an ultra-fast, comfortable high-speed rail (HSR) train from Shanghai to Beijing when he used his smartphone to order meal delivery one hour before the train halted for a few minutes at the station in Ji’nan, the capital of East China’s Shandong Province.
The Global Times reported that Liu, after receiving a freshly prepared rice and beef set dinner from a restaurant outside the train compartment, expressed his amazement at the tremendous changes in train technologies and services.
A decade ago, he recalls standing in the train for the entire night, tolerating its slow movement, and feeling his feet absolutely numb by the time he arrived at his destination. He still remembers the scene.
While still under construction, the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Rail (HSR), which is now one of China’s busiest and fastest rail lines, carried 1.35 billion passengers during its first decade of operation, covering a distance equivalent to almost 40,000 rotations around the world. Between the two major cities, it takes only four and a half hours, compared to roughly 17 hours in the 1980s when travelling on the green-skinned train between them.
According to the China State Railway Group, the country’s railway operator, by the end of 2020, the country would have more than 37,900 kilometres of high-speed rail lines in operation, making it the world’s longest.
Described as a historical breakthrough, the HSR demonstrated to the world the country’s growing technological prowess by mastering technology that had previously been held by Japan, Germany, and France, as well as its increasing prosperity as the world’s second-largest economy, both of which were previously held by the United States.
While China has not given up on developing more advanced high-speed railway technologies, it has been among the world’s first to implement new technologies such as autonomous train operation, which can be seen on the high-speed railway line connecting Beijing and Zhangjiakou, the two cities that will co-host the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
The trains, which have a maximum design speed of 350 kilometres per hour (kph), can start and stop independently, run between stops, open and close doors, and manage crises, making it the first time in China that autonomous high-speed trains will be in operation.
On July 20, in Qingdao, Shandong Province, China’s self-developed high-speed maglev transportation system, which can travel at speeds of up to 600 kilometres per hour, made its public debut. The system represented a cutting-edge scientific and technological achievement in the field of rail transit and was the first of its kind in the world.
Stamps to facial scan
Certainly, China’s spectacular progress in artificial intelligence over the past decade is a wonder to behold, especially at this late stage of its xiaokang adventure, when the country’s economic transition toward being innovation-oriented prioritises AI, alongside big data and cloud computing, among other emerging technologies, to power the econosphere.
As a result of the country’s remarkable progress toward becoming a world leader in artificial intelligence, face recognition-enabled ticket checking devices are being installed in an increasing number of railway stations throughout the country. Automatic time-keeping equipment that use facial recognition are also becoming more prevalent around the country.
These technical breakthroughs assisted in the rapid and effective tracing of virus infections, with the country emerging from the COVID 19 pandemic ahead of other major economies as a result of widespread uses of artificial intelligence technology in everyday life and the workplace.
Chinese companies have filed 389,571 out of over 520,000 artificial intelligence patent applications worldwide over the past decade, according to a report published by the Tsinghua University Artificial Intelligence Research Institute earlier this year. This represents a significant step forward in the country’s transformation from a manufacturing hub to a global technology power in the future.
Additionally, the four Chinese AI heavyweights – Megvii, SenseTime Group, YITU Technology, and CloudWalk – have in recent years been recognised with a slew of international AI-related accolades, particularly in the areas of image recognition and algorithm development.
Sun Jian, chief scientist of Megvii, stated at the AI firm’s tech open day in Beijing in mid-July that the country has achieved a transition in AI technologies development from a focus on basic research to the enabling of its application into specific industries to AI functioning as infrastructure. “We have achieved a transition in AI technologies development,” Sun Jian said.
China’s Megvii has launched its proprietary opensource deep learning framework, MegEngine, as a new, promising alternative to Google’s TensorFlow and Facebook backed PyTorch, as part of efforts to close the country’s technological gap with the United States in the AI ecosystem.
Maps to navigation satellites
In addition, a number of significant milestones have been achieved by China in the aerospace industry, including the country’s enviable miracle in space technology, which has been backed by the efforts of several generations of Chinese space industry experts to transform the country into a space power.
After dropping off veggies, fruits, and fresh seafood in a residential area in Beijing’s Shunyi district, an autonomous driving car was driving to a residential area when the coronavirus epidemic forced many people to stay at home in July 2020.
Receiving signals from the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), the driverless automobile was able to modify its route in real time while remaining confident that it was on the correct path.
It was only one of the many cases in which the Chinese government’s in-house navigation system was put to use in everyday situations.
With the successful launch of the final BDS satellite into orbit in June 2020, the country’s domestically developed BeiDou constellation was brought to a close.
In recent years, China’s satellite system has become a standard feature of the country’s routine technological advancements in the space sector; yet, it was difficult to comprehend how Chinese pioneers surmounted challenges in extreme conditions to complete “mission impossible” back in the 1970s.
A successful launch of China’s first man-made satellite, Dongfanghong-1, was celebrated with the popular tune of “Dongfanghong,” a Chinese song that pays honour to Chairman Mao, streaming from space. Dongfanghong-1 was the first Chinese satellite to be safely launched. The launch was carried out using China’s own booster, the Long March 1 rocket, which became China the sixth country to successfully launch a spacecraft into orbit using its own booster.
By that point, China had demonstrated to the rest of the world that it was capable of realising what other countries could not. Even though China’s aerospace growth began late and from a low point, the country has made remarkable progress in a very short period of time. China has caught up with the world’s major aerospace powers as a result of the efforts and contributions of multiple generations of people who have been involved in the cause of aerospace development.
Chinese space exploration began in the 1960s with the successful tests of its first nuclear bomb and hydrogen bomb, followed by the launch of the Dongfanghong-1 satellite. Since then, China has sent hundreds of self-developed spacecraft into orbit, including man-made satellites, crewed spacecraft, and space probes.
Over the past two years, the space industry has achieved a fantastic record, highlighted by the nation’s first autonomous Mars mission and the Chang’e 5 mission, which returned rock and soil samples from the moon.
The most recent development occurred in June, when China launched three taikonauts into orbit aboard the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft, the first of four crewed space missions that would complete the country’s space station by the end of 2022.
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