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What will Chinese tech look like in 2025? My new forecast

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October 28 · Issue #57 · View online
Matt Sheehan's Newsletter
Hi all,
Greetings from snowy Santa Fe!
Small life update: I’ve temporarily relocated to New Mexico for at least the next couple of months. After months spent in lockdown and several weeks spent breathing wildfire smoke that makes Beijing feel like an oxygen bar, we decided to try out another region of the country. We weren’t expecting a 3-day snowstorm in October, but hey, it’s 2020! Wish us luck…

China 2025 Forecast
Today I wanted to write to share a new report we’ve published at MacroPolo forecasting China’s next five years across politics, economics, technology and energy+climate.
I took on the task of forecasting Chinese technology developments over this period, and you can read my piece – “Fragile Tech Superpower” here.
In the forecast, I don’t try to cover all issues, but instead focus on one big trend that I think is going to shape China’s tech trajectory, and one potential obstacle.
Trend: a shift from the consumer internet to the industrial internet, facilitated by China’s New Infrastructure plans
Obstacle: US restrictions on China’s access to advanced semiconductors
Diagram of China's New Infrastructure initiative from the report
Diagram of China's New Infrastructure initiative from the report
To get a handle on these issues, I spent months researching and talking to people far more knowledgeable than myself. The final product represents my “base case” scenario of where things are most likely headed, along with a “secondary scenario” outlining some other twists and turns.
If you’d like a quick taste of the report, you can also check out my long Twitter thread outlining it. Or if you don’t Twitter, here is a helpful website that packaged my thread into a nicely formatted web page.
And once again, you can read the whole piece via the link below:
China Technology Forecast in 2025: Fragile Tech Superpower
Once you’re done with that, I highly encourage you to read through the full report, which can be found here. I found Neil Thomas’ piece on Chinese elite politics – Stronger as Xi Goes – to be particularly insightful, and also learned a ton from my colleague Ilaria Mazzocco’s piece, Setting Course for Peak Emissions.
Predictions on China are much more likely to make one look dumb than smart – but hey, I learned a lot digging into these topics, and hope the report provokes some productive thinking on where China is headed, and how the US can strategically respond.
I’d love to hear from readers on where they agree, disagree, or have insights on any of this from their own work. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me by email (msheehan [at] paulsoninstitute [dot] org) or on Twitter @mattsheehan88.
Alright, that’s all for today. Stay sane and be well,
Matt
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