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News : Innovation Last Updated: Jan 9, 2012 - 2:03 AM


How serious is China's challenge to America's technology lead? Chinese to land on the moon, Americans on an asteroid
By Finfacts Team
Jan 6, 2012 - 8:22 AM

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How serious is China's challenge to America's technology lead? Over the New Year's weekend, a pair of NASA spacecraft arrived back in the US from the first mission devoted to studying lunar gravity. America had established its dominance in the space race in July 1969 when the first humans landed on the lunar surface from Apollo 11 and days before last week's return of the NASA vehicles, China announced an ambitious five-year plan for space exploration that would move China closer to becoming a major rival at a time when the American program is in retreat.

Chinese in the next decade may become the first humans to land on the moon since Apollo 17 astronauts descended onto the Sea of Serenity in 1972. President George W. Bush had called on NASA to return to the moon by 2020. President Obama canceled that program and now wants the agency to send astronauts to an asteroid. The Soviets had triggered the Space race by the launch of the Sputnik satellite in 1957 but Russia could not sell one consumer product in the West. China today is a much more serious rival.

Leading North American, European, Japanese, and Korean manufacturing multinationals (MNCs) rightly fear that they may find themselves launching rivals to their own market position when they weigh access to the vast Chinese market against technology acquisition and management imitation on the part of Chinese partners and other indigenous competitors. Bringing in new technology to gain access to the Chinese market - - whether for domestic market penetration or as a base for exports - - may therefore often appear to individual foreign multinationals as making a Faustian bargain with the devil...

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