The Great Decoupling: China, America and the Struggle for Technological Supremacy

Key information

5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Virtual Event

About this event

Nigel Inkster (International Institute for Strategic Studies and SOAS University of London)



Managing technology decoupling. The USA and China have become locked in a struggle for control of the commanding heights of advanced technologies. China wants to become a global leader in advanced technologies including ICTs and believes the USA is trying to thwart its legitimate aspirations. The USA perceives China’s aspirations as strategically destabilising and is now seeking to constrain Chinese access to advanced technologies reliant on US IP. This struggle has been a major factor in what has become known as The Great Decoupling, a progressive technology disengagement that has major economic and political implications for the entire planet. Nobody can say how this will play out but in the event of a total or partial technology decoupling there will be unavoidable and unwelcome consequences that will give rise to growing global instability and distrust unless carefully managed. The economic consequences will be considerable – a lesser pace of innovation, an unnecessary reduplication of capabilities and possibly even networks. Strategically the implications will include a deepening of distrust and the potential for the USA and China to become locked in a declining cycle of security dilemmas. How this situation evolves will depend partly on how the respective technologies evolve but also on whether both parties are willing to consider measures to mitigate the risks the situation presents.

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The Great Decoupling: China, America and the Struggle for Technological Supremacy

About the speaker

Nigel Inkster CMG is a Senior Advisor on China and Cyber Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies where he was previously Director for Future Conflict and Cybersecurity. He is also a Research Associate at the SOAS China Institute and Director of Geo-Strategy and intelligence at Enodo Economics. He previously served for 31 years in the British Secret Intelligence Service, retiring in 2006 as Assistant Chief and Director of Operations and intelligence. His latest book The Great Decoupling: China, America and the Struggle for Technological Supremacy was published in December 2020.


This webinar will take place online via Zoom. Click here to register.

* The webinar will be recorded and also live-streamed on our Facebook page for those that are unable to participate via Zoom.

Chair: Professor Steve Tsang (Director, SOAS China Institute)

Organiser: SOAS China Institute

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