What to do about China? Short-Term Tensions & Long-Term Strategies

  • China is on track to be the primary source of industry disruption throughout the 2020s. The West’s overall economic relationship with China is also now being significantly disrupted.
  • Western strategies and attitudes toward the rise of China often differ fundamentally, depending upon whether one sees China mostly as a marketplace, mostly as a supplier, mostly as a business competitor, mostly as a military/geopolitical competitor, or a mix of the above.
  • Today, many more industry sectors are in the marketplace/supplier camps than the business/geopolitical competitor one, and this helps explain why short-term economic interests have historically outweighed longterm national competitiveness concerns.
  • By directly targeting Huawei, TikTok and others, the US has shifted the debate and made national security, national competitiveness and human rights its top priority issues, at least for now. While China will likely respond in turn, no-one knows how deep today’s rift will grow.
  • As China’s ambitions expand, just about every industry sector now has a plausible 'disruption from China' scenario over the course of the 2020s, especially manufacturing, IT, defence, clean energy, transportation, aerospace, life sciences, banking and education.
  • In the short term, western companies will increasingly be expected to provide governments and the public with much more detailed and transparent information about how they engage with China across their entire supply and demand chain. Companies need to prepare for this.

This report explores these fast-changing areas, and concludes with two main outputs: For governments – 20 policy recommendations to significantly improve long-term US/Western competitiveness For businesses – 50 strategic, operational and tactical questions that will increasingly need to be answered.


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