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China Emerges as Quantum Tech Leader While Biden Vows to Catch Up

By IQT News posted 15 Mar 2021

(KR-Asia) The US has been the front-runner of the world in various technologies, but in quantum technology, China is taking the lead.
Cooperation with allies such as Japan will be key for the administration of US President Joseph Biden to keep his country competitive in this area. The Biden administration’s interim national security guidance announced on March 3 states that “America must reinvest in retaining our scientific and technological edge and once again lead, working alongside our partners to establish the new rules and practices.” The guidance pointed out that quantum computing and artificial intelligence will have a widespread impact on the economy, military, and employment, as well as on efforts to improve equality.
On March 5, China announced that it would increase its research and development investment by an average of more than 7% per year in its five-year plan starting in 2021, citing AI and semiconductors as well as quantum technology as important areas.
When it comes to patents related to quantum communication and cryptography, China is in the lead. For devices that exchange photons, Huawei ranked second with 100 patents, and Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications ranked fourth with 84 patents. Chinese companies also hold many patents for software technology in this field.
According to Masahide Sasaki, a fellow at Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, the young Chinese researchers who studied in the West had repatriated to their home country and contributed to the “explosive progress” of quantum technology in China.
Japan has more advanced technology in communication and encryption than the U.S., with Toshiba, NEC, and NTT holding nearly 10% of its hardware patents. Tokyo is keen to work with the US in this area. A Japanese government official told Nikkei: “We would like to cooperate with the Biden administration quickly.”
This Japan-US collaboration could be key to determining the outcome in the global struggle for tech hegemony.

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