The "Made in China 2025" strategy now faces headwinds from critics within China. A leading Chinese academic has urged the government to tone down its "Made in China" rhetoric, which has proven inflammatory in the U.S. and in Europe.
Zhong Wei, a professor at Beijing Normal University, said the Chinese government should lower the volume of its campaign to dominate the technology sector through state-sponsored spending and development, according to an article by Frank Tang in the South China Morning Post.
The professor says "Made in China 2025" is really more of a "guideline" than a formal strategy, since it hasn't been endorsed at the highest levels of Chinese government.
That will come as welcome news for thousands of tech firms in the U.S. and Europe. But it remains to be seen how far China will go to establish a pre-eminent role in the technology industry. China certainly has the resources and the desire to become an independent player in the industry, but it's hard to imagine a scenario in which China dominates technology markets worldwide.
Nonetheless, last week was another wild week for the tech industry. I don't know anyone who foresaw Microsoft's decision to buy GitHub for $7.5 billion. Outside of our industry, few people seem to understand the potential consequences of the acquisition, which will impact millions of developers who rely on GitHub to store code and keep track of changes in their software projects.
GitHub has become synonymous with the open source movement, which had been scorned and reviled by Microsoft for years. It feels odd to read about Microsoft joining forces with a movement it had opposed for decades.
"GitHub represents a big Undo button for Microsoft ... For many years, Microsoft officially hated open source software," Paul Ford writes in Bloomberg Businessweek. "But after many years of ritual humiliation in the realms of search, mapping, and especially mobile, Microsoft apparently accepted that the 1990s were over."
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unquestionably played a key role in the company's conversion. In retrospect, it's amazing how long it took Microsoft to get the message that open source was a huge economic driver of the global software economy.
The GitHub acquisition is a clear indication that Microsoft now understands the value of open source software and is willing to dive in with both feet.
Acquiring GitHub will transform both Microsoft and the open source community. Over the next couple of years, we'll find out how far and how deep the transformation will go.