Nach dem Nie­dergang Deutsch­lands: Wird China die füh­rende Technologienation?

Byron Wien gehört seit Jahr­zehnten zu den schärfsten Beob­achtern an der Wall Street. In seiner letzten Mail befasst er sich intensiv mit China. Ich, wo ich doch immer so skep­tisch bin bezüglich der Ver­schuldung des Landes, fand den Kom­mentar sehr erleuchtend. Zeigt er doch, wie fun­da­mental der Wandel ist, der dort statt­findet. Passt zur Beschreibung von Gunnar Heinsohn aus der letzten Woche, der plas­tisch den Nie­dergang Europas (vor allem Deutsch­lands) mit dem Auf­stieg Asiens kon­tras­tiert hat:

  • For some time now I have been con­cerned about the state of Ame­rican com­pe­ti­ti­veness looking out a decade ahead. Inno­vation has been the life­blood of our eco­nomic success, and nowhere has this been more apparent than in infor­mation tech­nology since the advent of the Internet and the Smart­phone.“
    Fazit: Wien fokus­siert sich in seinem Kom­mentar natur­gemäß auf die USA. Dabei müssen wir im Hin­terkopf haben, dass Europa deutlich schlechter dasteht.
  • „(…) many thought leaders believe (Chinas) growth, even at modest rates, is unsus­tainable and that the country is good at copying the tech­nology of others, but not as strong as an inno­vator of fun­da­mental tech­no­logies on its own. These observers are unde­re­sti­mating not only China’s eco­nomic momentum, but also the rate of pro­gress they are making in inno­vation in all types of tech­nology.“
    Fazit: Skep­tiker habe ich hier immer wieder gebracht, so in dieser Woche erneut Martin Wolf.
  • „Based on data com­piled by the Indus­trial and Com­mercial Bank of China (ICBC), there are 214 private com­panies in the world valued at $1 billion or more, known as uni­corns. Slightly more than half (108) are, as you would expect, based in the United States, but 55 are in China, (…) Of the top ten uni­corns, China has four (including numbers two and three) and the U.S. has six.“
    Fazit: Das wird bei uns gern über­sehen. Außerdem sind die chi­ne­si­schen „Ein­hörner“ sehr erfolg­reiche Technologie-Start-ups.
  • „China’s inno­vation has been engi­neering-based rather than science-based and it is con­sumer-focused and effi­ciency-driven. Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent tog­ether represent 16% of world net digital adver­tising revenue and 20% of world net mobile Internet ad revenue. Google and Facebook are the leaders with a com­bined 43% of net digital and 51% net mobile ad revenue.“
    Fazit: Letztere kommen aber immer mehr unter Druck auf der Wer­be­seite. China hat hin­gegen einen deutlich grö­ßeren Markt perspektivisch.
  • „In terms of world stock market capi­ta­liz­ation, tech­nology com­panies represent eight, or 40%, of the top 20 com­panies and two of these (Tencent and Alibaba) are Chinese. Chinese com­panies have made great strides in con­sumer app­li­ca­tions. There are a billion “WeChat” accounts, Didi (the Uber equi­valent in China) booked 1.4 billion rides in 2016 and close to $3 billion pay­ments were made in China through Internet-based com­panies in 2016. There are 70 million active shared bike users.“
    Fazit: Und diese Firmen werden nun im Westen angreifen.
  • „China will be spending more on research by 2019 than the U.S. In 2014, (…) China was spending close to $300 billion, more than half of the U.S. total of almost $500 billion. Japan has been pretty flat at $100 billion since 2000; the U.S. has been gra­dually rising from $300 billion in 2000. China was only at $50 billion in 2000 and, according to the OECD, is expected to be over $600 billion by 2024, when the U.S. will still be around $500 billion.“
    Fazit: Nun könnte man meinen, viel Geld alleine bedeutet noch gar nichts. Die Chi­nesen haben aber auch ent­spre­chend gebildete Men­schen, um diese Inves­ti­tionen zu stemmen.
  • „China’s huge market pro­vides a strong incentive to any company deve­loping an idea with com­mercial potential. Also the cost of doing research in China is lower than it is else­where in the world. Finally, for every stage of venture capital there is plenty of money available from both domestic and inter­na­tional investors. There were only 150 early stage invest­ments in 2009; in 2014 there were 1886. Infor­mation tech­nology accounted for 68% of early stage com­mit­ments; com­puter-related and elec­tronics accounted for another 20%.“
    Fazit: Das ist eine Macht­ver­schiebung aller erster Güte.
  • „China’s investment in research goes beyond infor­mation tech­nology. Prior to 2010, the country com­mitted almost $10 billion to research with bio­tech­nology a focal point. The Chinese biotech industry has been growing at 30% and is valued at over $10 billion today. There are more than 580 bio­pharma com­panies. Chinese sci­en­tists have trans­formed normal adult cells into embryonic stem cells and pro­duced live mice from these lab-pro­duced cells. (…) China is the third largest filer of patents, after the United States and Japan.“
    Fazit: … und dürfte zudem freier For­schen können. Man denke nur an die Hin­der­nisse für Gen­technik bei uns in Deutschland.
  • „As a result of the Thousand Talents Program, which pro­vides grants and tax breaks to Chinese-born aca­demics who return home to work after being edu­cated abroad, ori­ginal research has esca­lated. Regu­latory reform has also helped by faci­li­tating the movement of drugs from the labo­ratory to the clinic.“
    Fazit: Damit adres­siert China den Punkt von Gunnar Heinsohn, der beschrieben hat, wie China einen Brain-Drain in andere Regionen erleidet. Nun werden nicht alle zurück­kommen, gibt es doch auch Vor­teile im Ausland, wie poli­tische Freiheit. Dennoch.
  • 2Not only are they investing heavily in tra­di­tional research and deve­lo­pment, but they are also acquiring natural resources in Africa for future indus­trial needs. The poli­cy­makers have a long term plan for the country’s growth and they are willing to invest the money now to make sure their objec­tives are met. This gives them an advantage over more mature eco­nomies like Europe and the United States that are coping with budget deficits, deferred main­tenance and decaying infra­st­ructure.“
    Fazit: Während wir über die Rente mit 63 und soziale Gerech­tigkeit fabu­lieren und uns mit der „Rettung“ des Euro beschäf­tigen, wird dort Wohl­stand der Zukunft geschaffen und nicht vernichtet.
  • „An issue of concern for many investors is the level of Chinese debt, which has risen from 149% to 269% of GDP over the past decade. Incre­asing debt has accounted for two per­centage points of China’s 7.25% growth from 2012 to 2016. There is also the worry that there are a number of non-per­forming loans on the books of the banks and “shadow” banks, but the adverse effects of these has been deferred by the country’s growth.“
    Fazit: Damit sind wir bei dem ein­zigen rele­vanten Problem, das aber auch lösbar ist.

Natürlich hat China erheb­liche Her­aus­for­de­rungen zu meistern: Schulden, schrump­fende Bevöl­kerung, Umwelt, Umbau zu mehr Konsum und weniger Inves­tition. Ver­mutlich wird das nicht ohne Krisen und Tur­bu­lenzen vor sich gehen. Dennoch ist das Land ein ernst zu neh­mender Wett­be­werber, der unsere Pro­bleme im Westen noch ver­stärken wird.

Dr. Daniel Stelter / www.think-beyondtheobvious.com