How Many Years Is China Ahead of US in Technology

How Many Years Is China Ahead of US in Technology 2024

Published on: October 5, 2023
Last Updated: October 5, 2023

How Many Years Is China Ahead of US in Technology 2024

Published on: October 5, 2023
Last Updated: October 5, 2023

‘Made in China’ is a phrase we hear and often see in our daily lives, be it your new phone or the toy in your child’s hand, but why does it seem to be everywhere?

How many years is China ahead of US in technology?

Does it really matter?

Though there is a lot of debate about the rise of China in different fields and if it will ever pass the USA, it is obvious if we look at the development of China in these years.

Today, the USA is dominant in many fields, but China is already leading research and seems to be fast climbing in other fields.

It has contributed significantly to research, military and different technologies.

These achievements can also be said as the cause for tension between The US and China which has risen in recent years.

Here’s a look at some fields China is leading and/or growing rapidly in:

How Many Years Is China Ahead of US in Technology: Key Stats 2024

  • China holds 389,571 out of over 520,000 AI patent applications globally
  • Tiktok has 690 million monthly active users worldwide
  • China has the largest Air force in the Asia Pacific  
  • China ranked 14th Position in the global innovation index 
  • China’s education market received over $10 billion in 2020
  • China supplies 70% of solar panels globally

How Many Years Is China Ahead of US in Technology: Latest Stats

China Technology

1. China Holds 389,571 out Of Over 520,000 AI Patent Applications Globally

According to findings in a report by the Tsinghua University Artificial Intelligence Research Institute, let’s talk about R&D (research and development); China holds 389,571 out of over 520,000 AI patent applications globally over the past decade.

It has gone from fourth place in 2015 to first in 2020 in the global league table for patent registrations. China has the second-highest spending in R&D, which was more than 370 billion in 2020.

These numbers give us an idea of how invested China is in its technologies and how they are looking for domestic talent by encouraging its citizens and allocating funds in different fields.

The artificial intelligence industry in China is a rapidly developing multi-billion dollar industry.

As of 2021, the market of artificial intelligence is worth about RMB 150 billion (US$23.196 billion).

2. TikTok Has 690 Million Monthly Active Users Worldwide

Social media technology has always seen its root in one place that is California’s silicon valley.

In that small area, all major tech brands had established themselves, and we would never have thought that it would change, that is until Tiktok was created.

Tiktok is an app whose parent company is the Chinese firm ByteDance and has found its home in many countries.

It has 690 million monthly active users worldwide, 100 million in the United States, and 100 million in Europe.

Though it was banned in India in 2020, it doesn’t seem to dissuade more Chinese techs from following TikTok’s suit.

Western countries had always emerged as the leaders in bringing new technologies and apps and others learning from them, but after TikTok, the narrative seems to be shifting.

Another tech that started from China is an awesome app, basically when one app performs many functions.

For example, an app in which, along with chatting, one can also shop started in China, and other western tech giants followed them.

China does seem to be getting more into these fields, and so are other Asian countries; we can just wait for the next decade and see if Silicon Valley still is where it is today or will it be some other country in its place.

3. China Has the Largest Air Force in The Asia Pacific 

The People’s Republic Army Navy (PLAN) is the largest globally.

Their Air force is also the largest in the Asia-Pacific region and the third-largest in the world, with more than 2,500 aircraft and roughly 2,000 combat aircraft, according to an annual report by the US’s Office of Secretary of Defense published last year.

China had shown the world its advancement in Military tech when it unveiled very advanced missiles in 2019 during the National Day Military Parade.

The US is ahead of China in its defense budget.

China’s being only ¼ in comparison to The US, but China’s military can be seen growing with more advanced tech being used in their weapons and are seen as threats by other countries.

4. China Ranked 14th Position in The Global Innovation Index 

China is not something that comes to mind when one thinks about innovation, as it has long been named a copycat because it is a controlled society and does not give many ways for innovation.

Still, evidence suggests that China has risen quite a bit innovation-wise as it has risen from being 29th in the global innovation index in 2015 to 14th position in 2020.

Many of China’s companies like Huawei, Alibaba, and Tencent are among the 50 most innovative companies.

Besides the huge corporations, small-scale companies are also innovating.

China is also encouraging “China-first” innovations in various areas such as social media, on-demand services, mobility, fintech, health tech.

5. China’s Education Market Received Over $10 Billion in 2020

Chinese education is always known for its high level and complex exams; it has always emphasized education, especially the sciences.

Today, 250 million Chinese get three levels of school education (elementary, junior, and senior high school), doubling the rate of increase in the rest of the world during the same period.

Net elementary school enrollment has reached 98.9 percent, and the gross enrollment rate in junior high schools is 94.1 percent.

Aside from traditional education sources, they have also strived to increase online education and AI in education even before the pandemic hit.

In 2020, China’s education market received over $10 billion, a 150% increase from the previous year. In 2020, 40 million Chinese students were enrolled in different tech companies.

Out of the world’s 22 ed-tech unicorns (private companies valued at more than $1 billion [£740 million]), nine are from China, alongside US companies such as Udemy, Duolingo, and Coursera.

But it should be noted that China did a crackdown on privatized tech sectors.

They have brought about many new policies regarding education technology, so we can’t be sure what the future will bring!

6. China Supplies 70% of Solar Panels Globally

In the last decade, climate change, pollution, and the melting of glaciers have become a hot topic everywhere and have prompted many nations and companies to develop green energy.

Though The US has been dominant in inventions, China has been leading in producing and manufacturing them.

China has risen from 1% in 2000 to become the leading supplier of solar panels, whereas America has dropped from  30% in 2000 to less than 1% today; similarly, in wind turbine production, China has 4 for of the world’s top ten turbine producers, and it controls 40% of the world market, whereas The US only 17%.

In Electric Vehicles, China is the top producer and the top market, with 1.3 million EVs sold in 2020 in contrast to America’s 300,000, and it’s the same with charging stations; China has exceeded one million while America has 100,000.

How Many Years Is China Ahead of US in Technology: Conclusion

China Technology

The only real edge America has on China is that they are far ahead in innovations for green energy than China.

Though America is Ahead of China in most technologies right now, China is catching up and has done so in some sectors.

It’s a world for us to see what happens in the future. Can America keep its position as world no.1, or will China be the new tech king?

Let’s wait and watch. 


Times Higher EducationTimes Higher EducationMcKinsey

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Written by Jason Wise

Hello! I’m the editor at EarthWeb, with a particular interest in business and technology topics, including social media, privacy, and cryptocurrency. As an experienced editor and researcher, I have a passion for exploring the latest trends and innovations in these fields and sharing my insights with our readers. I also enjoy testing and reviewing products, and you’ll often find my reviews and recommendations on EarthWeb. With a focus on providing informative and engaging content, I am committed to ensuring that EarthWeb remains a leading source of news and analysis in the tech industry.