China should, for once, stop chasing the West and develop its own strong sides.
There are already many things where China got genuine uncontestable lead over the rest of the world, but which most of Chinese themselves don't realise:
1. Excellent system of 2 year technical education
2. Highly experienced manufacturing specialists when it comes to "doing engineering at manufacturing site"
3. Industry that is much more eager to pick up new technologies than Western one.
China is rapidly approaching parity with the west in terms of infrastructure and industrial development. The only way to keep pushing forward is to develop new technologies of their own, rather than relying on foreigners to develop the tech first and then copy it. That worked fine up to a point, but staying with that approach indefinitely dooms them to perpetually playing catch-up.
> The reason China has focused so much on 'field applications' is precisely because they lacked the capability to do much original research and so specialized in applying foreign technology cheaply and at scale.
I want to say that being good in 'field applications' is a really strong side of Chinese, but they wont acknowledge that. China's official 'know-how promotion' policy is to keep pumping tenth of billions into institutionalised research, and keep people grinding cookie cutter PhDs.
For example, one of the biggest breakthroughs in making lithium batteries economically has been done in China without much publicity: the "open air process" that some no-name factory invented to make cells without shielding them with copious amounts of inert gas, and that allowed to make battery cells without sealed, fully robotised manufacturing lines.
In our own company, the two best paid employees after the boss are two middle aged guys of exceptional ability when it comes to designing plastic injections molds. They don't even have higher education of any kind besides 2 year introductory level schooling in engineering college. But when it comes to making molds, they are gods. They can make you anything from plastic bathtubs to aerospace grade composite parts in a day or two.