How China Hopes to Win the Quantum Technology Race
(SouthChinaMorningPost) China’s national quantum programme has been shrouded in secrecy until recently, when it was defined as part of the national strategy.
China started work on a massive quantum research facility in Hefei in Anhui province three years ago, which has been designated as the headquarters of its national programme. State media has reported the investment in the programme will reach 100 billion yuan (US$14.8 billion) by 2022, but no further information was disclosed to the public until recently.
But earlier this month President Xi Jinping met some of the country’s top quantum physicists and told them that the programme was part of the national strategy as the world underwent “the biggest change in a century”.
He said quantum research would be “an advance-handed piece on the board” – a reference to the ancient Chinese game Go, in which a piece placed on a seemingly irrelevant area at the beginning of the game can help score victory at the end.
In an article published in Science and Technology Daily soon after Xi’s speech, Pan Janwei, the father of China’s quantum satellite programme, said the county was trying to develop three disruptive technologies.
1) Quantum Sensors
2) Quantum Computers
3) Quantum Internet
The biggest difference between China and US quantum research efforts is that the American programme is funded mainly by private companies such as Google and IBM, while in China the government is the main source of investment. But Pan believes that if major Chinese firms enter the game, they could tip the balance in China’s favour.