In the last 50 years, China has experienced rapid economic transformation. It is now poised to assume membership among the world’s most developed economies. Its strategies on issues like urbanisation and infrastructure are widely studied and occasionally copied.
What is the next step on the growth ladder for the Asian giant? Evidence suggests that the answer lies with smart technology, particularly for urban and environmental management. Technology is playing an instrumental role in China’s modernisation efforts. This is true across a variety of domains including industrial upgrades, public service delivery, and environmental monitoring and management. It is plausible, then, that the country will connect its growing technological prowess with its global leadership ambitions.
Green technology offers a particularly promising avenue for global influence. China has already staked a claim to global leadership in solar technology. Its domestic industry is prodigious and innovative. The country is taking bold strides to do even more. A proposed global power grid, estimated to cost a staggering USD$50 trillion, seeks to connect solar and wind power infrastructure around the world.
According to the United Nations’ Environment Programme China’s investments in renewable energy topped USD$78.3 billion in 2017. Most of this was made up of government and corporate research and development. This far outpaced the US’s investment in the same year of USD$46.4 billion.