Nanotechnology Project


Nanotechnology in China: Ambitions and Realities

Tuesday, February 6, 2007 • 3:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.

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Woodrow Wilson Center • 5th Floor Conference Room

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 forecast that China will have leapfrogged Japan in 2006 to become the worlds second highest investor in R&D after the United States.

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?

Co-sponsored by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, the Asia Program, the China Environment Forum, and the Program on Science, Technology, America & the Global Economy