Other Writing


During the economic reforms of the last twenty years, China adopted a wide array of policies designed to raise its technological capability and foster industrial growth. Ideologically, the government would not promote private-ownership firms and instead created a hybrid concept, that of "nongovernmental enterprises" or minying qiye. Digital Dragon examines the minying experience, particularly in high technology, in four key regions: Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, and Guangzhou.

Minying enterprises have been neither clear successes nor abject failures, Segal finds. Instead, outcomes varied: though efforts to create a core of innovative high-tech firms succeeded in Beijing, minying enterprises elsewhere have languished. He points to variations in local implementation of government policies on investment, property-rights regulation, and government supervision as a key to the different outcomes. He explains these peculiarities of implementation by putting official decisions within their local contexts. Extending his analysis, he compares the experience of creating technology enterprises in China with those of Korea (the chaebol system) and Taiwan (enterprise groups).

Based on interviews with entrepreneurs and local government officials, as well as numerous published primary sources, Digital Dragon is the first detailed look at a major Chinese institutional experiment and at high-tech endeavors in China. Can China become a true global economic power? The evolution of the high-technologies sector will determine, Segal says, whether China will become a modern economy or simply a large one.

"This book is packed with solid information and exceptional insights"

Foreign Affairs

"Highly readable, and suitable both for business practitioners and for social scientists interested in the state's role in economic development."

China Journal

    Amazon  Barnes & Noble 


Shaming Chinese Hackers Won't Work

By Adam Segal

This Article appeared on The Guardian, May 30, 2013

When he meets President Xi Jinping next week in California, President Barack Obama is expected to raise cyber-security as one of the most pressing issues in the US-China relationship. The meeting comes in the wake of a Washington Post report that Chinese hackers stole information from over two dozen weapons programs, including the Patriot missile system, the F-35 joint strike fighter, and the navy's new littoral combat ship.

The People's Republic of Hacking

By Adam Segal

This article appeared on Foreignpolicy.com on January 31, 2013

In an extraordinary story that has become depressingly ordinary, the New York Times reports that Chinese hackers "persistently" attacked the newspaper, "infiltrating its computer systems and getting passwords for its reporters and other employees." The attacks began around the time journalists were preparing a story on the massive wealth the family of China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has allegedly accumulated, but the methods, identification, and apparent objectives of the hackers have been seen before in previous attacks on defense contractors, technology companies, journalists, academics, think tanks, and NGOs. Bloomberg, which published a story on the wealth of the family of Xi Jinping, China's top leader, has also been reportedly attacked.

The Cyber Trade War

By Adam Segal

This article appeared on Foreignpolicy.com on October 25, 2012

On Oct. 8, the House Select Intelligence Committee released a report on the cybersecurity threat posed by China's Huawei and ZTE, the world's second- and fourth-largest telecommunications suppliers. The report, which described the companies as potential espionage risks and asked the U.S. government and U.S. firms to refrain from doing business with them, drew an angry response from Chinese media: XinhuaChina's state news agency, called its conclusions "totally groundless" and arising out of "protectionism"; the nationalistic tabloid Global Times said the United States is becoming an "unreasonable country"; and the state-run English language newspaper China Daily labeled the accusations "unreasonable and unjustifiable." But the fear of vulnerability from foreign technology, whether reasonable or not, is as present in China as it is in the United States -- now more than ever.

Chinese Computer Games

By Adam Segal

This article appeared in the March/April 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs

In March 2011, the U.S. computer security company RSA announced that hackers had gained access to security tokens it produces that let millions of government and private-sector employees, including those of defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin, connect remotely to their office computers. Just five months later, the antivirus software company McAfee issued a report claiming that a group of hackers had broken into the networks of 71 governments, companies, and international organizations. These attacks and the many others like them have robbed companies and governments of priceless intellectual property and crucial military secrets. And although officials have until recently been reluctant to name the culprit, most experts agree that the majority of the attacks originated in China.


Chinese Hacking May Slow, But . . . .

By Adam Segal

This article appeared in March 2012 issue of SC Magazine

By now, the process is almost routine. A major technology or defense company announces a serious security breach and suspicion quickly falls on China-based attackers. While U.S. officials have been coy about naming the culprit, preferring to say only that a nation-state was most likely behind the attacks, they have recently been more willing to raise the heat on Beijing by calling China out. So far, this naming and shaming does not seem to have had any effect on the calculus of Chinese hacking, and this is unlikely to change in the near-term. As a result, companies will have to continue to remain vigilant and take defense into their own hands.

Why a Cybersecurity Treaty is a Pipe Dream

By Adam Segal and Matt Waxman 

This article appeared on CNN-Global Public Square, October 27, 2011

With companies and governments seemingly incapable of defending themselves from sophisticated cyber attacks and infiltration, there is almost universal belief that any durable cybersecurity solution must be transnational. The hacker – a government, a lone individual, a non-state group – stealing valuable intellectual property or exploring infrastructure control systems could be sitting in Romania, China, or Nigeria, and the assault could transit networks across several continents. Calls are therefore growing for a global treaty to help protect against cyber threats.

As a step in that direction, the British government is convening next week the London Conference on Cyberspace to promote new norms of cybersecurity and the free flow of information via digital networks. International diplomacy like this among states and private stakeholders is important and will bring needed attention to these issues. But the London summit is also likely to expose major fault lines, not consensus, on the hardest and most significant problems. The idea of ultimately negotiating a worldwide, comprehensive cybersecurity treaty is a pipe dream.


The Role of Cyber Security in US-China Relations

By Adam Segal

This article appeared on East Asia Forum, June 21, 2011

Less than three weeks after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and three other cabinet members announced the International Strategy for Cyberspace, another incident has occurred between the United States and China.

In this instance, Google claims that hackers based in Jinan stole the passwords of the email accounts of senior government officials in the United States and Asia, as well as Chinese political activists. The Chinese response followed the standard script: deny the claims, point out illegality of hacking in China, note that China is also a victim, and question the motivations of Google and the United States. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said, ‘Allegations that the Chinese government supports hacker attacks are completely unfounded and made with ulterior motives’.

While this flare up is likely to be short lived, the two sides involved hold fundamentally incompatible views on cyberspace, which means it is almost inevitable that there will be another incident sometime in the near future. The International Strategy states that the US will promote a digital infrastructure that is ‘open, interoperable, secure, and reliable’ while supporting international commerce, strengthening security, and fostering free expression. At best, China shares interest in two of these goals — global commerce and security — and even in those cases it has a different conception of how they should be defined.


Curbing Chinese cyber espionage

By Adam Segal

This article appeared on CNN-Global Public Square, May 9, 2011

According to public reports, over the last several months computer hackers have stolen proprietary information from DuPont, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, RSA, Epsilon, NASDAQ, and at least a dozen other firms.  Many of these attacks have been traced back to networks in China, but it is unclear whether criminals, government agencies or some combination of the two are responsible for the attacks.

U.S State Department cables obtained by Wikileaks further describe attacks code-named Byzantine Hades on U.S. technology and defense companies that appear to be the work of China’s People’s Liberation Army.

Regardless of the source of the attacks, the United States must work independently and, when possible, cooperatively with China to reduce the threat.


Innovation Models

By Adam Segal

This article appeared on The Economist Debates, March 11, 2011

The distinction between incremental and disruptive innovation is analytically useful but artificial, as the distinguished debaters admit. Understanding the models may give us a better
grasp of what Google and Toyota have done, but modern economies require both and, in ideal conditions, they coexist in a virtuous feedback cycle. But if you are a European, 
Japanese or American policymaker concerned about national competitiveness, where do you put increasingly scarce resources? 

To answer, we must shift our gaze from Japan and the United States and look to China and India. China and India are already putting pressure on 
the incremental model and hope to compete in the future in disruptive innovation. For the advanced economies, the greatest hope for long-term competitiveness
lies in disruptive innovation.


Why American Innovation will beat China's

By Adam Segal

This article originally appeared on CNN-Global Public Square, March 10, 2011

Sometime this year, the Chinese government will announce a new initiative to lure ten scientific superstars to research labs throughout China. 
The government hopes that if it offers a $23 million dollar award to Nobel Prize winners and other luminaries, they will relocate and raise the 
quality and prestige of Chinese research and development.

The program is part of a larger strategic push to shift from “made in China” to “innovated in China.”

The Chinese have great ambitions, but can they be met?


The Great Invention Race

By Adam Segal

This article originally appeared in Foreign Policy, January 27, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to "win the future" by out-innovating the rest of the world was a ringing climax of his 
State of the Union address this week. Obama suggested increasing U.S. investment in research and development, a good and welcome step.
But what will really determine U.S. competitiveness in the global ideas market isn't the money we can pour into the system. It's the strength of the
system itself -- the social, political, and cultural institutions that shape ideas from start to finish.

Joint Efforts for Secure Cyberspace

 By Adam Segal and Cherian Samuel

This article originally appeared in the Economic Times (India), November 30, 2010

After President Barack Obama’s visit, there is a great deal of enthusiasm about India and the US working together to secure the global commons — the air, sea, space and
cyber domains that belong to all, are controlled by none, and are the “connective tissue of the international system” . While the two sides have already made significant
progress in developing greater cooperation on the seas, cyberspace could be the next big thing — an area where Washington and Delhi share common interests,
though there are also significant challenges to any joint approach.

Both India and the US have a stake in an internet that is open, global, and secure. Delhi and Washington share a vision of the web as a protected space for free speech;
they also see its development as being largely driven by non-state and commercial actors. As democracies, both have to balance the tradeoffs among anonymity on the
web, civil liberties , and the need to prevent the misuse of communication technologies by violent extremists . Both Indian and American IT companies benefit from global
 markets and security processes that are standardised and transparent. And both countries have been the victim of cyber espionage, aimed at stealing the intellectual
property of their companies and state secrets.


Globalizing the Energy Revolution:How to Really Win the Clean Energy Race

By Michael Levi, Elizabeth Economy, Shannon O'neil, and Adam Segal

This article originally appeared in November/December 2010 issue of Foreign Affairs

The world faces a daunting array of energy challenges. Oil remains indispensable to the global economy, but it is increasingly produced in places that present
big commercial
environmental, and geopolitical risks; greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere; and the odds that the world will face
catastrophic climate change are increasing. These problems will only worsen as global demand for energy rises.

Environmental advocates and security hawks have been demanding for decades that governments solve these problems by mandating or incentivizing much
greater use of the many alternative energy sources that already exist. The political reality, however, is that none of this will happen at the necessary scale and
 pace unless deploying clean energy becomes less financially risky and less expensive than it currently is. This is particularly true in the developing world.

A massive drive to develop cheaper clean-energy solutions is necessary. Indeed, many claim that it has already begun -- just not in the United States. They warn
 that the United States is losing a generation-defining clean-energy race to China and the other big emerging economies.

They are right that the United States is dangerously neglecting clean-energy innovation. But an energy agenda built on fears of a clean-energy race could quickly
backfire. Technology advances most rapidly when researchers, firms, and governments build on one another's successes. When clean-energy investment is seen as
 a zero-sum game aimed primarily at boosting national competitiveness, however, states often erect barriers. They pursue trade and industrial policies that deter
foreigners from participating in the clean-energy sectors of their economies, rather than adopting approaches that accelerate cross-border cooperation. This slows
down the very innovation that they are trying to promote at home and simultaneously stifles innovation abroad.


China's Innovation Wall

By Adam Segal

This article originally appeared in  Foreign Affairs, September 29, 2010

If you want to get to the bottom of indigenous innovation, the Chinese policy so deeply aggravating Western businesses and governments, look at the
bottom of your DVD player. Most likely, the machine was made in China. For Beijing’s leaders, that is part of the problem: for every Chinese-made DVD
player sold, the Chinese manufacturer must pay a large royalty fee to the European or Japanese companies that patented various components of the unit,
such as its optical reader. These foreign firms reap substantial profits, but the Chinese take is extremely small -- and is shrinking further as energy, labor,
and commodity prices rise. Policymakers in Beijing, looking to strengthen China’s economy, are no longer satisfied with the country’s position as the world’s
manufacturer. Their solution is to break China’s dependence on foreign technology, moving from a model of “made in China” to one of “innovated in China.”

Time to Defriend China

By Elizabeth Economy and Adam Segal

This article originally appeared on ForeignPolicy.Com, May 24, 2010

This is not a G-2." With those words, Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg finally sounded on May 11 at the Brookings Institution the death knell for the much-touted, 

if misguided, idea that China and the United States would band together to solve the world's problems.


The idea of a "G-2" was first introduced by C. Fred Bergsten, director of Peterson Institute for International Economic, as a mechanism for promoting agreement between 

the two sides primarily to address international economic issues. However, it migrated to strategic issues, championed by old Washington hands like Henry Kissinger and 

Zbigniew Brzezinski. The idea resonated with the White House and Foggy Bottom, where hopes were high for joint efforts to solve the financial crisis and address climate 

change. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remarked in a February 2009 visit to Beijing, "The opportunities for us to work together are unmatched anywhere in the world."


That hope was short-lived. It has become painfully clear during the first year of Barack Obama's administration that mismatched interests, values, and capabilities make it 
difficult for Washington and Beijing to work together to address global challenges. China's unwillingness to sit down with the United States and its maneuverings with India,
 Brazil, and South Africa to undermine a larger agreement at Copenhagen were clear signs that building a special relationship would not be easy. America's approval of arms
 sales to Taiwan in January and the Dalai Lama's visit with Obama in February returned both sides to old suspicions and sensitivities


Google and Saving Face in China 

By Adam Segal

This article orginally appeard on CFR.org, March 23, 2010

After several weeks of negotiations with the Chinese government,Google announced on March 22 that it was redirecting users of google.cn--its China-based 

search engine--to google.com.hk where results are not filtered or censored. Google will keep some R&D and advertising on the mainland.


For Google, it is a clever maneuver in very difficult circumstances. The company does not back down from its January 12 announcement that it could no longer censor results

on google.cn after discovering that its source code had been hacked and the Gmail accounts of human rights activists targeted. Yet by moving to Hong Kong,

 the search giant can claim that it is not abandoning Chinese users--an important issue not only to those who argue that Google's presence in China was

 a force for good that increased the flow of information, but also, perhaps more importantly, to advertisers who want to reach Chinese consumers.


Google's Lesson: Innovation has to be Accompanied by Reliability

By Robert Knake and Adam Segal
The article originally appeared on YaleGlobal, February 22, 2010

While we wait for next move in the standoff between Google and China, the most profound impact of the Google incident may have little to do with Internet censorship.

 Rather it is likely to change the shape and speed of technological development in the information technology sector. The announcement that the search engine giant 

was hacked in China highlights two emerging tensions between a globalized model of innovation and security of companies that should lead them to pause the pace

 of change to better accommodate security and reliability.


The first tension is geographic. Over the last two decades, multinationals have globalized innovation by setting up research centers in many corners of the world and linking

 R&D, manufacturing, and supply chains in dispersed markets. Massive information and communication technology networks allow a project, whether developing new software

 or designing the next generation of microprocessor, to be worked on almost continuously as daylight moves from Oregon to India and then to Israel and Ireland and back to 

Oregon. As the Internet remains the main vehicle of this global cooperation, each link in that chain introduces vulnerabilities that can be exploited by criminals as well as

 "patriotic hackers" - private individuals or groups who, with tacit or direct government support, steal valuable intellectual property on the behalf of that government. According 

to the security firm Netwitness, over the last eighteen months hackers in China and Eastern Europe broke into over 2,500 computers in companies and government agencies

 in order to steal personal and corporate data.


Moreover, actually moving production and R&D, not just connecting them virtually, can have a negative impact on security. Geography still matters since physical supply chains

 that involve sharing of components themselves are vulnerable as intelligence agencies insert spyware into chips and other hardware at the point of manufacture. The fact that

 counterfeit Cisco routers - a critical component in Internet transmission - have already showed up in the networks of major technology companies and defense contractors 

demonstrates how porous supply chains are.


The Chinese Internet Century

By Adam Segal
This article originally appeared on ForeignPolicy.com, January 26, 2010

Few minds in China are likely to change on account of Hillary Clinton's call for "a single Internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas."

 Last week, the U.S. secretary of state laid out two competing visions of the Internet: one open and global, the other highly controlled and often used for repression. 

Given that China is rapidly trending toward the latter, it's time to start asking: What might a permanently fractured Web look like?