Chinese attainment of the state of ‘fuqiang’, which means rich and powerful, is a remarkable achievement of this heroic nation. At the policy level, the Government of Peoples’ Republic of China provides opportunities and friendly environment for economic activities; companies manage financial matters and look after manufacturing while billions of working hands produce huge inventories of various mercantile items which are sold in every corner of the world.

Democratisation of technology can thus be defined as China’s effort to bring technology accessible to everyone without any discrimination. Thus the concept of democracy is much more than the sickening hackneyed expression: Government of the people, for the people, by the people.

We may commemorate Pakistan Government and Henry Kissinger’s diplomatic maneuverings and the US President Richard Nixon and Zhou Enlai meeting in Beijing in 1970 due to which China opened up to the world.

In subsequent years, not only British Prime Minister Edward Heath (1974 and 1975), French President Giscard d’Estaing and Francois Mitterrand (1980 and 1983 subsequently), German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (1989) and President Regan (1984) visited China and won contracts in car manufacturing, made arrangements for staging British Trade Industry Exhibition, sold licence for making Rolls Royce Spey engine which the British had used for Phantom Fighter jets and promoted the Daya Bay Nuclear Project through Framatome of France.

Particularly in the past 35 years, China reaped the harvest of Deng Xiaoping’s reforms. China’s joining the World Trade Organisation and Xi Jinping’s foresight regarding significant decisions as vital as patching up border issues with Russia and working on the construction of Pak-China Trade Corridor (CPEC) are expressions of Xiaoping’s reforms.

Passion for learning from the West and the Western binge to invest in China brought a paradigm shift from “Made in China” to “Created in China”. Significance of this shift is that it pushed China into a higher stage of research and development (R&D) and innovation where it gained the position of producing almost ‘everything’ from consumer goods to higher technology of inter-continental ballistic missiles. In its eagerness, one firm was able to sell 8 ammonium nitrate plants to boost up Chinese agriculture through fertilisers. Five hundred years earlier experience of China about innovation of paper, gunpowder, printing and iron making proved extremely helpful in democratising technology in the 20th and 21st Centuries.

Whether it was investment from Henry Ford II to manufacture trucks or from German Mercedes-Benz or British Leyland, the support from these industries initiated the boost-up velocity of Chinese economy. Not only was Coca Cola brought to Chinese taste buds and palates, French food and drinks producer Danone also entered the Chinese market. Electronics could not be left behind. Top retailers Walmart and Tesco flourished in the markets of Chinese humongous cities. The environment was cohesive and friendly for shopping at supermarkets and malls. All this happened because of low cost management and of low-priced fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and a host of other products.

All along with this infectious and hot business climate, Chinese private as well as state-owned companies rushed to make use of the opportunities and thus constituted 1/3rd of China’s GDP.

The first joint-venture of Chinese and non-Chinese companies was Schindler which produced elevators and escalators. The success of Schindler encouraged others and within a period of four years around 1982 and 1983, there were thousands of joint ventures, participating vehemently in Chinese economic growth.

Another reason for the success of Chinese effort to democratise technology is the role of personal relationships towards establishment of business relationships known in China as the concept of ‘Guanxi’. This concept is in fact centuries old. It refers to personal networks which support business relationships from beneath. Guanxi is the mutual confidence and cooperation of both parties of the seller and the buyer. The government of China has used ‘Guanxi’ to encourage one-on-one dealings to avoid unnecessary governmental official red-tapism. All this goes along with management of corporate culture which is an attraction for foreign investors and competition existing with foreign firms as well as between domestic companies. The local industry of mobile phones put up a good tussle with the giants like Apple, Samsung and Nokia.

It is important to point out here that almost all major categories of innovation are available in the Chinese business context. If non-technical innovation reinforces service sector, conceptual innovation deals with turning a dilapidated building into a gymnasium for physical exercise. The objective of business innovation is to facilitate customers such as the innovation of ATM. Similarly process of innovations expedites manufacturing line while technological innovations help in making research and development work.

The establishment of Chinese companies at global level is a major reason for Chinese diaspora, which began in the 1980s. If the Chinese government, on one hand, invited multi-national companies to invest in China or encouraged joint venture partnerships, Chinese people themselves were provided opportunities to go abroad for study or for business purposes. Obviously, wherever Chinese went, they took along their knowledge, technology, their cuisine and culture.

Chinese firms, especially construction and engineering ones, have by now almost built an empire in the African continent. The impact of this trend towards democratisation of technology can be seen in growing relationships between China and Africa. As it is known that China has become economic powerhouse – a factory to the world, it, therefore, tries to discover new areas where low-wage labour and raw materials are easily available for its surplus capital and huge man power. But Chinese presence is neither colonial nor imperialistic. In fact, colonialism is almost dead. Unlike United States and Europe, China works through a type of new barter system. China develops airports, railroads, industries so on and so forth in exchange for long term supply of minerals and raw materials like hydrocarbons. Thus, Africa has become a place where Chinese migrants are engaged in building a new empire for the natives and that is why; the Chinese authorities so often visit these African countries.

The Bible of Chinese business community is Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” The Chinese culture also encourages playing ‘Weihi’ which is a game analogous to war strategies. Consequently, some people are of the view that Chinese do business with the mindset fit to engage in fighting a war.

Chinese think tanks are busy in taking precautionary steps to avoid pitfalls and traps at governmental and private levels. Firstly, the time has passed away when one-child policy was useful. Now the apprehension is that “China may well be old before it is rich.” The demographic studies are helping to avoid this particular trap. Secondly, a general observation is that anything which sells well is frequently copied.

Surely, China has the potential to cope with various pitfalls on account of value structure of its culture which is based on Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. It is inherently a land of sane and civilised people. Introduction of the law of intellectual property indicates that China is in the process of turning towards complete rule of law.

Like Greeks who democratised knowledge through Arabic translators, or like Muslims who taught science and technology to Europeans during Renaissance, or like the West which blessed the world with research and innovations especially of computer, internet, libraries and universities, Chinese contribution towards dissemination and democratisation of technologies is an admirable feast of achievements.