Multi-Decade Exploitation of Western Research Institutions Paying Big Dividends for China’s Quantum Ambitions

Interesting piece from economic intelligence startup, Strider. Consolidates much of what we have seen in the media over the past several years regarding China’s intellectual property theft and quantum technology, specifically. Recommend getting the PDF and spending some time to really understand the weight of China’s IP theft (found at the source link, below).  Because Quantum is Coming.  Qubit.

Quantum Dragon How China is Exploiting Western Government Funding and Research Institutes to Leapfrog in Dual-Use Quantum Technologies

Key points…

+  China’s advances in dual-use quantum technologies stem from a multi-decade strategy to exploit Western research institutes. This strategy includes sending Chinese scientists to top quantum research labs around the world for training and then recruiting those Chinese scientists, who made “unwritten agreements” to return before they were sent out, back to China through PRC government talent programs and funding schemes to support the development of China’s quantum research programs.

+  This activity is done in the name of “international scientific cooperation”, however, the same Western-trained Chinese scientists simultaneously collaborate with Chinese state-owned defense companies to develop military applications for quantum technologies. The tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) China has deployed to leapfrog competitors in quantum technologies uncovered by Strider’s Global Intelligence Team are fueling a new global competition for dominance across strategically significant scientific fields and emerging technology industries.

+  For more than a decade, China has implemented an intentional strategy to “assign” Chinese quantum scientists to leading research institutes around the world, including in the United States, UK, Germany, and Switzerland, to “master cutting-edge research” with the support of Western government funding after making “unwritten agreements that they must return to China after their studies are complete” to support PRC government dual-use quantum research programs. China’s strategy has succeeded in building a competitive advantage over the U.S. and other nations in certain quantum technologies with military applications.

The Bottom Line 

+  Pan Jianwei [潘建伟] developed and leads this strategy. Pan, known as China’s “father of quantum,” is Head of the Division of Quantum Physics and Quantum Information at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), which drives China’s quantum science collaboration with Western research institutes alongside parallel collaboration with China’s major state-owned defense companies. Pan is also a concurrent part-time professor at Germany’s Heidelberg University.

+  Western Universities and research labs have been compromised at the highest levels. Pan and PRC government agencies have recruited a number of Western scientists with monetary incentives through government talent programs. Western quantum scientists inducted into PRC talent programs include Matthias Weidemuller, Dean of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Heidelberg University, and Barry Sanders, a theoretical physicist at the University of Calgary in Canada.

+ Heidelberg University is arguably the most important foreign partner behind China’s rapid progress in dual-use quantum technologies. Over the past decade, Heidelberg University has provided physical equipment to USTC’s quantum lab, trained, and continues to train, a generation of USTC quantum scientists, and engages in cutting-edge joint research with USTC.

+ Pan and his team of quantum scientists at USTC directly collaborate with China’s major state-owned defense companies and are behind numerous recent breakthroughs in quantum military applications. This includes quantum radar to detect stealth aircraft, quantum magnetometers to detect submarines, and quantum key distribution (QKD) to enable encrypted communications for the Chinese military, including on Chinese naval vessels in the “far seas.”

Source:  Strider.  Strider Global Intelligence Team,  Quantum Dragon How China is Exploiting Western Government Funding and Research Institutes to Leapfrog in Dual-Use Quantum Technologies [PDF]…

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