The U.S. is still a global technology leader, and China is still a follower.
Boeing, for example, dominated the world decades ago, while China’s C919 aircraft are not yet commercially available.
2. Manned Spaceflight
Saturn 5 sent United States astronauts to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s; the United States has completed many Mars explorations to date, and Chinese satellites have never set foot on Mars territory.
Half of the world’s top 10 semiconductor companies belong to the United States, and none of the Chinese companies are listed.
Most of the world’s biggest Internet companies are located in the US. Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, for example, are all companies that dominate the world. China’s Alibaba and Tencent entered the Internet Top 10, but their dominance only exists in the domestic Chinese market.
5. Consumer Goods
The United States has many global leaders in the consumer goods industry, such as Wal-Mart, Costco, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nike, McDonald’s and KFC.
6. Industrial Software
Most mainstream operating systems (e.g., Windows, Android, iOS) are the products of United States companies. They basically have a global monopoly on operating systems. There are a number of powerful software companies in the United States, such as Microsoft, Autodesk, Oracle, IBM, EMC, Adobe, HP, etc. Their commercial software is also very popular, almost monopolizing the application level of various industries. Technicians rely heavily on their software as a production tool.
1. Nuclear Weapons
The United States has the largest number of nuclear weapons in both size and quality in the world.
2. Aircraft Carriers
China’s aircraft carriers have just entered service and are still using conventional power and the most primitive glide take-offs; the United States already has a second-generation nuclear-powered carrier, using steam ejection and electromagnetic ejection. And, America’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier has been retired.
The F22 of the United States is the fighter of 20 years ago, and is still the world’s No. 1 fighter; the F35 can be used as a ship-borne aircraft, or as a multi-purpose fighter of the Air Force, which China can hardly match for a short time.
4. Nuclear Submarines
The top United States “Ohio” class ballistic missile nuclear submarines, launched in 1981, are still ahead of China’s most advanced ballistic missile nuclear submarines today.
The United States dollar is the world’s common reserve currency, and more than 70 per cent of global trade is settled in that currency; the internationalization of the Renminbi is still being worked out, and less than 3 per cent of global trade is settled in that currency.
Productivity per Capita
The U.S. population is only a quarter that of China. The manufacturing industries retained by the United States are aircraft, automobiles, core components, chips, weapons manufacturing, anti-cancer drugs, the nuclear industry, sophisticated medical equipment, robots, industrial systems, engines, etc. China mainly manufactures consumer goods for daily use and OEM industrial goods for the West.
With the fourth industrial revolution (artificial intelligence, 5G, blockchain, IoT, new energy, etc.), the U.S. is again in the lead.
China perfectly missed the first three industrial revolutions, and the fourth one barely caught the last one, and is doing quite well today. But compared to the solid industrial foundation of the United States, there is still a clear gap.
China really started the industrialization process after 1949, which is only 70 years ago. Before that, China was a semi-feudal, semi-colonial, agricultural country without tariff sovereignty, and with war reparations from the great powers.
Missing out on development for so long, China’s backwardness is all-encompassing, not something that can be caught up in just three or four decades of economic takeoff.