99 IssuesCommentaryNews

Technology and innovation influences the values of a society by changing expectations, choices and realities of technological innovations. The implementation of technology and innovative ideas is also influenced by values. Without a value system that appreciates and promotes innovation and technology, advancements would be limited to ideas that are limited or favored by society. Thinking outside the box requires a comfort level that is inclusive and promotes the free flow of ideas.

China has struggled with an appreciation of ideas and concepts from foreign sources, and in recent years has made it challenging for foreign technology holders – including many members of AmCham China – to commercialize their innovations in the mainland market. The government is too focused on indigenous innovation (自主创新, zìzhǔ chuàngxīn), which in itself is not a bad thing so long as it doesn't take a protectionist stance that precludes foreign participation. Every country dreams of being on the forefront of technology, but building a knowledge-based society and economy requires the exchange of ideas and concepts across borders. Nothing is purely homegrown. (See the stories on drones and self-driven cars for examples of how foreign companies are helping move forward Chinese innovation in drones and autonomous vehicles.)

Having said this, the cooperative programs of AmCham China set an excellent example on how the US and China are cooperating with one another with the intent to exchange ideas and concepts, and with the mutual goal of helping China to raise its innovation game but at the same time providing American companies with commercial opportunities. The cooperative programs have been successful in promoting US technology and services in aviation/aerospace, healthcare and medical devices, food and agriculture, and energy and clean technology. They utilize a public-private partnership model to advance both sides equally.

AmCham China will continue to utilize the cooperative program platform to assist member companies in capturing the commercial opportunities in China.


James Zimmerman


AmCham China