China bets big on nanotech

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China bets big on nanotech

Country takes aim at US$3 trillion global market in nanotech products.

Nanotechnology is key to the future economic success of China, according to a leading academic in the field.

Richard Appelbaum, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said that China is betting that its growing investment in nano-science will help the country capture a large share of what will become a $3 trillion global market in nanotech manufactured goods.

Breakthroughs in nanotechnology research and commercialisation will also confer economic superpower status on the country that attains first mover advantage in this cutting-edge technology, according to the professor.

Appelbaum made his remarks at an event co-sponsored by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, the Asia Program, the China Environment Forum, and the Program on Science, Technology, America and the Global Economy, at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

China and the US are seen as big players in the nanotech race, although each faces a number of significant competitive challenges and collaborative opportunities, including the need for internationally coordinated risk research strategies and effective oversight mechanisms.

A senior US Department of Commerce official recently claimed that China is rapidly "gaining on" the US in nanotechnology.

This news comes on top of the latest Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development forecast that China will have spent more on R&D than Japan in 2006, making it the world's second highest investor in R&D after the US.
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