China’s 5 big tech issues for 2022


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A technologist inspects a computer chip.

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GUANGZHOU, China — China’s technology sector has taken a wild ride over the past year, with regulations tightened, billions of dollars wiped off companies’ market value, and a continuing push from Beijing for technological self-sufficiency.

Those are among the important themes that will be addressed at CNBC’s annual East Tech West event in the Nansha district of Guangzhou in southern China.

Here’s a look at the top concerns and focuses of China’s technology sector right now.

China’s tech crackdown


A good example is the field of chip manufacturing. SMIC, which is China’s largest contract chip manufacturer, is several years behind Taiwan’s TSMC and South Korea’s Samsung. SMIC is actually unable to manufacture the latest cutting-edge chips required for leading smartphones.

Foreign companies dominate the most advanced tools and equipment required for the manufacture of high-end chips. U.S. sanctions have denied China access to some of those tools. Chinese companies can’t compete.

How China will boost its domestic chip industry in the face of those hurdles is a major, ongoing debate.

‘Frontier’ tech

The semiconductor industry is just one of many industries where China is trying to boost its credentials.

In its five-year development plan, the 14th of its kind, released earlier this year, Beijing said it would make “science and technology self-reliance and self-improvement a strategic pillar for national development.”

The plan identifies areas which Beijing sees as “frontier technology” — artificial intelligence (AI) and space travel.

China has made notable progress in space, including launching its own space station. It has ambitions to send its first crewed mission to Mars in 2033.

When it comes to artificial intelligence, Chinese technology giants from Baidu to Tencent are investing heavily.

Electric vehicles

China’s economic slowdown

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