A senior Department of Commerce official recently claimed that China is rapidly catching up to the United States in nanotechnology. This news comes on top of the latest OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) forecast that China will have spent more on research and development (R&D) than Japan in 2006, making it the world’s second highest investor in R&D after the U.S.
Nanotechnology - the manipulation of materials at very small sizes, where these materials take on novel or unusual physical and chemical properties - is a field of intense international competition. Some experts predict nanotechnology will be as important as the steam engine, the transistor, and the Internet. Worldwide, governments and corporations invested almost $10 billion in nanotechnology R&D in 2005.
Is China poised to become the world’s nanotech superpower, or is this prediction hyperbole? What is China’s comparative advantage in the high-tech sector, and how is it exploiting this advantage in nanotechnology? Will China’s investment in nanotechnology pay off? And how will the United States respond to China’s growing nanotechnology capacity - with competition, cooperation, or both?
These questions are the topic of an event and live webcast on Tuesday, February 6th at 3:00 p.m. in the 5th Floor Conference Room of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars