innovation | February 12, 2013

James Fallows: Why Silicon Valley Shouldn't Worry About China

China is turning into a stiff competitor in the international market. However, The Atlantic's James Fallows says that Silicon Valley still stands to hold its edge as a world leader in innovation. As the keynote speaker at the 2013 State of the Valley Conference, Fallows applied his expertise on the Chinese market to discuss how America will compete as China rises in international influence. While conditions may be improving overseas, Fallows says that political conditions in China will hinder its ability to provide any genuine innovation. "You’re not going to have your own Google, your own Apple, your own Intel if your government is hyper paranoid about closing up all sorts of information flow," Fallows tells the Peninsula Press in a pre-keynote interview.

Rather than worrying about China, he argues that Americans should be turning the magnifying glass on what's happening here, instead. "Silicon Valley, like America as a whole, has more to fear from its own failures and blind spots than anything the Chinese can do," he argues. The strength of Silicon Valley, he explains, lies in its "strong universities, venture capital activity, and the United States’ infrastructure and public policy." However, the public and private sectors need to get on the same page about how to address the internal issues that threaten to dismantle the Valley's success. And that, he says, has nothing to do with China.

Fallows has spent decades writing on the economic and political climate of China—even living in the country for an extended period of time. Reporting about China since 2006, Fallows recently released a book, China Airborne, on its booming airline industry. As The Atlantic's National Correspondent explains in his talks, we have a lot to learn about China's advancements—but we shouldn't shudder in fear about its breakneck growth. A well-respected reporter, Fallows unpacks some of the most misunderstood notions about the nation and explains how we can better understand these massive changes. Not only that, but he shares strategies for better improving our industry here at home to ensure we stay competitive in a rapidly changing world.

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