Quantum technology competition must not become an arms race

In computing, medicine and other fields, quantum tech holds promise – but major power rivalry threatens progress, write Marion Messmer, James Shires and Armida van Rij.

The World Today
Published 29 September 2023 4 minute READ

International competition over quantum technologies is heating up, especially between the United States and China. Both countries have invested heavily in quantum technologies in recent decades.

Chinese state funding in quantum research is estimated to be around $15 billion, and China holds more than 30 per cent of the world’s quantum patents. While China dominates in the public sector, the US leads in private-sector investment and innovation. This competition is global. Britain published its first quantum strategy in March 2023, and sees quantum technologies as part of its ambition to become a science and technology superpower.

The European Union has built on its 2016 ‘Quantum Manifesto’ to commit more than $1 billion to research in quantum technologies, including computing, communication and simulations. Germany alone has allocated more than $3.3 billion to a 2023 initiative explicitly designed to ‘catch up’ with the US and China.

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