Chinese dominance in smart tech is a risk for Australia, Lowy Institute report says

Australia’s economy is threatened by Chinese domination smart cars, home devices and other advanced technology, warns a report.
Many countries in Southeast Asia – key markets for Australian businesses – are increasingly integrated with China for such technologies and supply chains, according to a new study from the Sydney-based firm Lowy Institute noted.

He says the global economy is being transformed by the Internet of Things (IoT) – devices and things integrated with sensors connected to other communication networks.

Major nations trading with Australia, such as Malaysia, depend on advanced Chinese technology. (PA)

While the United States and other Western countries such as Australia have attempted to exclude Chinese companies and state-owned companies from their digital networks around the world, the economies of East Asia and the Southeast depend heavily on the economic giant.

Much of this technology used in developments like electric cars and “smart city” ecosystems in countries like Singapore and Malaysia is either manufactured or tied to China.

And the Chinese state is strengthening its control of cyberspace with increasingly intrusive powers over domestic and foreign companies.

The ruling Communist Party is strengthening political control over China’s internet giants and exploiting their wealth to pay for its ambitions to reduce reliance on American and European technology.

Anti-monopoly and data security measures that began in late 2020 have rocked the industry, which thrived for two decades with little regulation.

Chinese security services are increasing their powers of surveillance over emerging technologies, a think tank has warned. (PA)

“Beijing thus defines the” conditions of engagement “for participation in the Chinese IoT economy so as to favor China’s information security over that of foreign players,” the report said.

This means Australia could face a difficult choice between a poorer future outside of a digitally connected Southeast Asian region with China or a riskier future within it.

The report says the Australian government should strengthen its own technological capabilities and find ways to manage the potential risks associated with digital connections with China.

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