(US) (China) (investment) (regulation)


Main Points:

  1. New Executive Order: President Biden has signed an executive order banning investment in specific Chinese sectors like technology, particularly semiconductors, artificial intelligence (AI), and quantum computing.
  2. Restrictions on Transfer of Know-How: Beyond financial investment, the order aims to prevent the transfer of American technological knowledge and expertise to China in these areas.
  3. Narrow Focus on Three Industries: The restrictions are designed to prevent China’s People Liberation Army from gaining a global advantage by leveraging U.S. capital and expertise in these critical sectors.
  4. Two Categories of Investments: The order will define investments as prohibited or requiring notification, with further definition provided by the Treasury Department.
  5. Impact on U.S.-China Relations: Though signaling a new chapter in U.S.-China relations, the order is part of a broader trend reflecting both parties’ willingness to take a confrontational approach towards Beijing.

Implications for Australian Startups:

  1. Technology Collaboration Challenges: Australian startups working in the sectors of AI, quantum computing, and semiconductors may face challenges if they collaborate with U.S. firms. Restrictions may limit access to funding and expertise.
  2. Potential Market Opportunities: With U.S. investments focusing away from China, Australian startups might seize new opportunities for collaboration and investment from U.S. venture capital and private equity firms.
  3. Strategic Alignment with U.S. Policies: Australian entrepreneurs need to be aware of and align with U.S. policies, as they could indirectly influence Australia’s own stance and regulations on technology transfer and investments with China.
  4. Diplomatic Ramifications: The executive order’s impact on U.S.-China relations might ripple into Australia’s diplomatic landscape. Startups should be prepared for potential changes in trade relations and regulatory environments.

(geopolitics) (getting ugly)

Fantastic! WTF is the US doing? This order targeting Chinese tech is yet another step in the deepening US-China rivalry and this ain’t good for anyone, including the US. As if things were not hard enough already. It risks splitting the global tech ecosystem, seriously disrupting global trade and escalating diplomatic and economic tensions. It puts us here in Australia in a particularly difficult diplomatic and economic position. AUKUS all the way baby!

(tell me more)

The Executive Order, while explicitly targeting specific sectors, also sends a broader message on the geopolitical stage. Here are some key geopolitical implications and risks:

  1. Shift in Global Power Dynamics: This order underscores a growing rivalry between the U.S. and China for global technological supremacy. The sectors targeted—AI, quantum computing, and semiconductors—are at the forefront of the next technological revolution. The U.S. is signaling its intent to prevent China from gaining an edge in these areas, which can reshape global power dynamics in the coming decades.
  2. Impact on Global Supply Chains: The technology sectors highlighted in the order are integral to global supply chains. Disruptions or reconfigurations due to these restrictions can have cascading effects on industries worldwide, potentially leading to increased costs, delays, and a reshuffling of global supply chain networks.
  3. Potential for Tech Cold War: The order can further the decoupling of the U.S. and Chinese tech ecosystems, leading to a ‘Tech Cold War.’ Such a scenario might see the global tech industry bifurcated, with nations and companies forced to choose sides.
  4. Escalation of Tensions: The confrontational approach can escalate tensions between the U.S. and China, leading to retaliatory measures from Beijing. This tit-for-tat can affect not just the tech sector but other areas of trade, finance, and diplomacy.
  5. Challenges for Third-Party Nations: Countries like Australia might find themselves in a precarious position, having to navigate their relations and policies without alienating either of the superpowers. The risk of being caught in the crossfire, both economically and diplomatically, is real.
  6. Potential for Misunderstandings and Miscalculations: As both nations ramp up their strategic posturing, the risk of misunderstandings increases. This can lead to unintended escalations in areas unrelated to the tech sector, such as territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
  7. Impact on International Collaborative Projects: Shared global initiatives, whether in research, space exploration, or climate change mitigation, could be affected. Collaboration might become more challenging if geopolitical tensions overshadow common objectives.
  8. Reevaluation of Global Alliances: Traditional alliances might be tested, with nations reassessing their strategic partnerships in light of the evolving U.S.-China dynamics. This could lead to shifts in organizations like ASEAN, WTO, or even the UN.
  9. Economic Repercussions: Global markets are sensitive to U.S.-China relations. Escalating tensions can lead to market volatility, affecting investments, currencies, and commodities.
  10. Cultural and Educational Exchange: Beyond the economic and political realms, such geopolitical postures might affect cultural and educational exchanges. Programs, scholarships, and collaborations might be reevaluated, leading to a potential loss in soft power influence.

Yeah that was my reading too, further polarisation isn’t going to end well. It’ll be interesting to see what the Chinese retaliation looks like in the coming week.

As a note, this does seem to be in response to some key recommendations from the following:

Or at least within a similar vein.

True, it is a fine balance. On one hand, they are trying to prevent AGI from getting into the ‘enemies’ hands but by doing that they are increasing the divide and deepening the desire of both sides to use weapons on each other.