Topics Discussed and Key Points:
● The increasing simultaneous “closeness” and “friction” between California and China
● What makes California special to China as opposed to other U.S. states?
● Matt speaks on co-hosting the Heartland Mainland: The Iowa China Podcast
● Emerging tech trends in China
● Eroding trust in Chinese tech platforms
● Key takeaways on MacroPolo’s October 2020 report on what China will look like in 2025
● How AI, blockchain, and other emerging technologies will transform Chinese society
● How China is able to consistently stay on the cutting edge of AI
● Why China has been incredibly malleable and willing to overhaul its society over time
● What Silicon Valley thinks of Chinese tech
Today on The Negotiation, we speak with Matt Sheehan, Fellow, and Researcher at MacroPolo, the digital think tank of The Paulson Institute. MacroPolo covers politics, economics, technology, and energy in China. Matt’s portfolio features writings on technology in China and its interactions with the U.S. and the rest of the world. His subfield focuses on artificial intelligence, a topic to which he has dedicated 90% of the last three years of his work.
In 2016, Matt wrote The Transpacific Experiment: How China and California Collaborate and Compete for our Future. His thesis for the book is that “California is Ground Zero for a new era and a new type of U.S.-China relationship.”
Matt notes that the relationship between the U.S. and China back in 2010 was characteristically more distant and “trade-based”. Around 2018, that relationship had become more “ground-level and face-to-face” as a result of the opportunities generated via the gradual influx of Chinese students, investors, immigrants, and homebuyers over the years. Matt’s book goes into how California (i.e. Silicon Valley and Hollywood) and China have been both collaborative and competitive at the same time.
Listen in as Matt explains how the multifaceted powerhouse that is California influences the trajectory of China’s economic growth. He also dives deep into what he means by the two regions being collaborative and competitive at the same time.
Matt then describes Iowa’s unexpected importance to the U.S.-China relationship and why he, in fact, co-hosted and co-produced the Heartland Mainland: The Iowa China Podcast. He goes on to speak on the future of the Chinese tech ecosystem as written about in MacroPolo’s October 2020 report. Finally, Matt reflects on shifting perceptions of China through the years and how the country is able to stay so malleable all this time.
“Even as California and China have become closer in recent years, that closeness also brings a lot of new frictions.”
“In five years, I don’t foresee chip restrictions and export controls hobbling Chinese transition to this industrial tech juggernaut that it wants to become. But as we stretch it out further to 2025 to 2030 and beyond, I do think that restrictions on China’s ability to access leading-edge semiconductors are eventually going to serve as a bit of a cap on how far they can go with this foundational technology.”