Western firms increasingly admire—and want—Chinese technology

IT IS A charge that American hawks love to level at China: that its companies, through fair means and foul, are after the crown jewels of American technology. Despite years of efforts to manufacture its own computer chips, the Asian giant still spends more on importing them than it does on crude oil. Politicians and companies in the West constantly grumble about Chinese rivals pilfering their intellectual property. So the idea that Chinese firms have some technology gems of their own to offer may seem fanciful.

In fact, Western technology firms increasingly fancy Chinese tech. In some cases, they are buying Chinese rivals outright—with the acquiescence of authorities in Beijing. Those working on such acquisitions date the phenomenon back to 2016. Most deals are small and involve niche industries: makers of the powertrains and sensors for electric vehicles, or agencies managing social-media influencers. But the trend has taken root, even as animosity between the United States and China has escalated (see article). American officials have been treating technology bosses to classified briefings on the dangers of doing business in China.

Those who operate there see things differently. For the first time last year, in an annual poll by the EU Chamber of...



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