10 Ways China is Kicking America’s Ass in Tech
In a decade’s time, there may be a single country that the entire world looks up to more than any other. Sure, their leader might have been seen as somewhat of a dictator by some. This country may have used a wall to keep people out, and took a harsh stance towards immigrants. A look at many of their biggest technology companies would show a lack of “diversity”, if you choose to measure that by the color of someone’s skin that is. However, this country would have become a leader in technology throughout the world by making heavy investments today. The people within the country would have used their unparalleled 9-9-6 work ethic to build incredible companies through hard work and dedication instead of complaining about having to work 40 hours a week. The country would be furthest ahead in “green” technology because they made commitments today to clean up their act.
We’re talking of course about none other than China, a country that by many measures is preparing to challenge America like no other country has. We’ve been taking a much closer look at China lately in various articles that focus on various aspects of technology in China:
- 10 Chinese Genomics Companies Decoding China
- 10 Interesting Chinese Robotic Startups
- How to Invest in a Big Chinese Lithium Company
- Top 8 Chinese Self-driving Electric Vehicle Startups
- The Top 10 Artificial Intelligence Startups in China
There are probably at least a few examples in those articles about how China is dominating in technology, which led us to write an article that talked about How to Invest in China and Buy Chinese Stocks for retail investors who live outside the country. We’ve been taking lots of notes lately as we continue to see more and more technological leadership coming from China. Let’s take a look at 10 more ways in which China is kicking America’s ass in the area of technology.
A GPS System That’s Better at Math
While the U.S. government commits to broadcasting the GPS signal with a global average user range error (URE) of 25.6 ft. with a 95% probability, apparently that’s just not good enough for the Chinese who have decided to unveil their own satellite tracking system which is 10X more accurate than GPS and accurate to within millimeters (for you Yanks out there, 1 millimeter is equal to 0.039 inches). According to an article by the South China Morning Post, your
average Joe average Zhang won’t even notice the increase in accuracy but China’s military users sure will. The system is expected to be fully operational around the globe by 2020.
Cargo Drones That Carry Cars
Using drones to carry cargo is nothing new, and we’ve looked at a fair number of startups that are already working on this. But what about a drone that’s big enough to carry a family of full grown giant pandas? According to an article by CGTN, here’s the specifications of the world’s first cargo drone which we’ve taken the liberty to convert into measurements that us ‘Muricans can understand:
12 meters39 feet long, China’s brand new AT200 drone is large enough to deliver a small car. And with the aircraft’s speed and weight-limit, that may be possible: it can fly more than 2,100 kilometers1,304 miles at a time, cruise at around 313 kilometers194 miles per hour, and carry 1.5 tons of cargo.
The Chinese are not only planning to carry cargo by air using electric power, but also by water as well, though the cargo kind of makes the whole “green energy” thing a bit pointless.
An Electric Ship that Moves Coal
The Chinese can be hysterical at times while not even realizing it. Take their usage of the hybrid language Engrish, which results in genius emails being sent sometimes like this one we just received 10 minutes ago from a Ms. Luna Holly:
While Luna tries to peddle her company’s electric bikes using horrendous email blasts, her country is making tremendous strides towards electrifying all kinds of other vehicles besides bikes, buses, cargo drones, and cars. It is in much the same way that the Chinese see no irony whatsoever in creating the world’s first electric cargo ship that transports coal. An article by Futurism talks about this 2,000-ton ship that moves at 8 miles per hour for about 50 miles after a 2-hour charge.
Only Electric Buses in This City
Speaking of electric vehicles, we talked before about how the Chinese are dominating in the electric bus space. Now, they’ve managed to turn Shenzhen into the world’s first city with an all-electric bus fleet of 16,359 buses, all made by BYD of course. According to an article by Digital Journal, “Shenzhen now has 510 bus charging stations with a combined 8,000 charging points, so it can charge just under half the fleet at once“. Here’s how far other cities around the United States are lagging behind in absolute numbers:
Now they’re looking at ways to build bus stops from recycled materials, which brings us to our next topic.
3D Printed Body Parts and Bus Stops
One thing you’ll notice about the Chinese is that they can fall asleep literally anywhere, which may explain why they typically age really well. Still, things do go wrong as you get older. Take this youthful 85 year-old Chinese fellow who just received the “world’s first” 3D printed tantalum knee:
You can read more about the whole thing in this article by 3D Printing Industry. While China lagged at first, their government is now making 3D printing a major priority according to this article by 3DPrint.com. The first large Chinese commercial passenger jet features 3D printed parts, they’ve created the world’s first 3D printed bus shelter, and they’re even looking at building houses using 3D printing. Speaking of Chinese grandpas, don’t you wish your grandpa could shuffle dance like this lovely old man? If his knees ever go out because he popped too hard, he’ll know where to go now to get sorted.
A Quantum Communication Network
While we cover the race for quantum supremacy here in the United States quite closely, the Chinese are making strides of their own in the area of quantum technology. According to an article by Phys.org, they are preparing to launch “the world’s first unhackable computer network“. It will be the world’s longest land-based quantum communications network, stretching over 1,200 miles across their country. This means that China will become “the first country worldwide to implement quantum technology for a real life, commercial end“.
A Smart Train Without Rails
One limitation of trains is the fact that you need to lay rails. Now, the Chinese have come up with the world’s first smart electric train that can carry more than 300 people while navigating around town using sensors instead of rails:
The train, which is expected to be fully automated, will follow dotted lines on the road instead of rails making it very easy to reroute. It’s also far cheaper to install than intercity rail which makes this a perfect solution for China’s growing megacities.
It’s Like a Bodega for Chinese People
The idea of building automated stores on street corners didn’t go over well in the United States. Apparently someone chose the name “Bodega” which upset a whole bunch of overly sensitive people who probably can’t speak a lick of Spanish. While the whole idea lagged, and the founders profusely apologized for no good reason, the Chinese took note and created their own line of “Bodegas”. According to an article by The Telegraph, “Chinese online retailer JD.com has beaten Amazon to the next stage of the shopping revolution by announcing plans to open hundreds of “unmanned” convenience stores“. (Hopefully they used a company name that doesn’t offend anyone, else they’ll need to start over.) For their next act, they plan to deliver groceries to people’s doors using autonomous vehicles that may very well be powered by the very roads they drive on.
A Highway That Generates Energy
China has now opened the world’s first solar highway, a claim which they substantiate by stating that it is longer than solar roads located in other countries with a length of .6 miles. It includes two lanes along with an emergency strip and consists of around 63,000 square feet of solar panels.
Bigger is not always better though, since someone already stole a piece of it which raises some interesting questions about how to secure solar roads.
They Don’t Have Facebook
While the outrage machine is operating at 110% when it comes to Facebook these days, we’ve always felt that the whole thing was a giant waste of time – the outrage machine and Facebook that is. That’s probably one of the reasons why the Chinese have simply banned Facebook and outrage machines. Sure, they have their own social networks, but who has the time to post mundane drivel on social media when you’re working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week? That’s what the whole “9-9-6” thing is about. Let’s just say that Chinese executives don’t have free time to sell books about leaning in, or tour the country getting their pictures taken while driving tractors. They’re too busy kicking ass and taking names.
If you want to see this transformation yourself, you’ll need to get a visa and go to China. Americans can actually get a 10-year visa right now. When you go there, you’ll need to keep an open mind. Don’t get angry when you find out they don’t know what a vegetarian is. Show some tolerance when the Chinese walk up to you and touch your skin because they’ve never seen white or black skin. Don’t get upset when they touch your blonde hair, or stare at you in awe as if you were a ghost (they call white people “ghost people” by the way). Don’t be offended when they grab your children to take pictures with them, tell you how fat you are, or express concern that you’re not married yet at the ripe old age of 27. Take the chance to get to know these interesting people who are a rising force in the global economy. Use the opportunity to practice your Mandarin, because in 20 years’ time you’ll be glad you did. Like it or not, China is here to stay.