China this week unveiled a new supercomputer that would have ranked as the fourth fastest in the world according to the latest rankings of these sorts of systems, according to China's Xinhua news agency.
Interestingly, the announcement is a victory both for China and for the United States. For China, the newly named "Milky Way" supercomputer is a tangible demonstration of the country's prowess in technology -- an image it is working hard to cultivate via its national high-tech development program.
Not surprisingly, Chinese scientists aren't content with partial victory. "After it's installed in Tianjin, we plan to add hundreds or thousands of China-made CPUs to the machine, and improve its Linpack performance to over 800 teraflops," Zhou Xingming, one of the Milky Way project's administrators, told Xinhua.
Loose translation: Sure, U.S. technology is good, but we think we can do better.
Domestic companies are already trying. Lenovo has more than double the PC market share of Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) in its home country, and it is the dominant supplier to buyers in the rural countryside.
Among supercomputer suppliers, IDG says that China's government-backed Dawning will compete with IBM (NYSE: IBM ) and Cray (Nasdaq: CRAY ) in developing supercomputers. The government overtly supports Dawning, as it does with many domestic tech firms.
We're too early in the cycle to know what the long-term effects of China's tech policy will be. But it seems clear that we can expect fewer American imports and more domestic investment. Perhaps the Chinese may even employ a tech-focused stimulus plan.
Either way, tech investors may do better to forget China and try India instead. While China has illustrated the tech power necessary to build something great, India has the market and the demographics necessary to take advantage of that technology. Read more on why I think India is ripe for better returns.
What do Fools think -- would you rather invest in China or India when it comes to the tech sector?