Simone Pieranni: why is China so obsessed with technology? | THE WAYS OF TECH •

Simone Pieranni: perché la Cina è così ossessionata con la tecnologia?

Until a few years ago the Chinese it was known to be the factory of the world but has put the accelerator on the last decade technological developmentalmost becoming obsessed with it. But why is technology of such strategic importance for China? To try to understand something, I met Simone Pieranni, an expert journalist on China – he lived there for ten years -, founder of China Files and serial podcaster. I suggest you listen to his podcast Other Easts, in which he will be able to guide you expertly through the intricate folds of the geopolitics of the Far East. Simone has also written a very interesting book – perfect for all tech lovers and called Red Mirror.
Fasten your seatbelts because today, THE LIFE OF TECH takes you to the Middle Kingdom (so the Chinese call China).

Let’s talk about geopolitics and Chinese technological development with Simone Pieranni

These days, China is a flurry of protests that are spreading across the country. Some of Foxconn’s plants are in an uproar over President Xi Jinping’s strict zero COVID strategy. But we are not here to talk about this specifically. With Simone Pieranni we will try to understand why China is investing huge capital in technological development: from the extraction and refining of rare earths (fundamental for the production of chips) to the sophisticated development of facial recognition software. I know that told this way it might seem like an apocalyptic scenario worthy of Orwell’s mind and his 1984. However, things are not exactly like that, the design of the Chinese Communist Party is very clear … perhaps it is much less so in the eyes of us Westerners than in we can understand some subtle cultural implications. To do this, Simone Pieranni will come to our aid who will be our “translator” for this new episode of THE LIFE OF TECH.

If you’re curious, to know all this and even a little more… I suggest you don’t miss our interview with Simone Pieranni.

My suggestion is to watch the whole interview because it is extremely interesting and informative but we all know that time is running out. So if you want to watch/listen to just some points of the interview you can do it by clicking on the timecode 🙂

  • 01:14 Is there anything new in terms of Chinese technological development?
  • 03:56 What we didn’t understand about WeChat? What is this “app” really for?
  • 09:21 Great Firewall: how does internet control work on Chinese territory?
  • 13:45 If WeChat had the gift of speech, what would it tell us about today’s China?
  • 14:25 Shenzhen is considered the first Chinese Silicon Valley. How did Deng Xiaoping transform this fishing village into a metropolis of almost 30 million inhabitants, today one of China’s technological hubs?
  • 16:33 The “cinesata”: why this idea in the West?
  • 17:58 Californian tech products are imbued with the “American dream”. What are the Chinese imbued with?
  • 19:20 Many Chinese smartphone manufacturers focus a lot on the front camera. What does this feature that they like so much tell us about Chinese society?
  • 20:47 Beyond the space race is also the race for technology. Whoever comes first between USA and China, what exactly wins?
  • 22:43 How is data used in China? Is it really as worried as we think in the West?
  • 25:29 The Xiaag’an smart city project – or SHARP EYES. What is this thing that looks like Orwell’s big brother?
  • 30:10 Can you tell us more about Innoway, literally a lane in Beijing, where many Chinese startups are launched?
  • 32:05 Social credit system in China: what’s true? And when should the Chinese worry… but should we too?
  • 37:47 China is rich in rare greenhouses, which are crucial for the production of technology. Why then are the chips mostly made in Taiwan? Does this thing have anything to do with the tensions between the two territories?
  • 40:57 What have we not understood about Chinese economic colonialism in Africa, for example in Zimbabwe?
  • 44:31 Why does China want to conquer the 5G dominance? Why is it so important?
  • 45:54 How did Trumpian tariffs plan to stop China? But above all, is President Biden always going in that direction?
Walker Ronnie is a tech writer who keeps you informed on the latest developments in the world of technology. With a keen interest in all things tech-related, Walker shares insights and updates on new gadgets, innovative advancements, and digital trends. Stay connected with Walker to stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of technology.