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[Opinion] A Technology-Strong China

Posted August. 25, 2007 03:26,   


China possesses world best technology in sectors of government leading industries, including satellites, nuclear weapons, and fighter jets. Statistics from the Science Citation Index (SCI) show that China belongs to a number of word-leading groups. However, in terms of commercial technology, its level falls behind Korea.

As for the competitiveness of the country’s materials and components industry in 2007, when giving a figure of 100 to the competitiveness of U.S., Japan scores 99.7 and Korea scores 83.7, while China falls way behind with a score of 65.4. In terms of brand image, design, the effectiveness of business management, and policy transparency, China is still behind Korea.

Korean companies, making inroads in China, are taking the lead in technology competitiveness over Chinese ones. Including the shipbuilding industry. But China is determined to learn the advanced technology of Korea by actively attracting Koreans to China. In Qingdao, there are many marine engineers from Korea. Local firms in Korea regard a Chinese construction office in Busan established by a Chinese shipbuilding company as one which is covertly trying to headhunt among retired Korean engineers. China has its eye on Korean techniques in various fields, including cell phones, telephones, LCDs, automobiles, precision instruments, bioengineering and chemicals.

China should never be regarded as a nation that is easy to deal with. Just until 2000, among the list of the “World’s Largest Corporation,” Korean companies outnumbered Chinese ones by 12 to 10. Now China has caught up with 24 companies, while Korea remains on the list with only 14 companies. According to a survey by Korea International Trade Association (KITA), while only 59 Korean products hold a No.1 market share, China has as many as 958 No.1 market share-holding products. In a survey of Chinese companies conducted to mark the 15th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Korea by KOTRA, more than 50 percent replied, “China’s technology is ahead of or equal to that of Korea.” We can see that a technology-strong China is a threat to us.

Since establishing bilateral relations in 1992, both nations have taken great benefit from each other. Although China is our largest trading partner with the greatest trade surplus, Korea should stay alert regarding the protection of intellectual property rights, Chinese foodstuffs and its manufacturing industry. Sometimes China tends to make Koreans uneasy about the Northeast Project and history distortions. However, China is also a neighboring nation, and establishing trust with China is critical. In international relations, neighboring countries always have been competitors as well as friends.

Huh Seung-ho, Editorial Writer, tigera@donga.com