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Students listen as then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at Ho Chi Minh University of Technology and Education, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Jan. 13, 2017 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

How China and the U.S. Are Competing for Young Minds in Southeast Asia

Friday, Feb. 8, 2019

Business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month warned that China has overtaken the United States in the development of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies, such as fifth-generation wireless or 5G. “There’s almost an endless stream of people who are showing up and developing new companies,” Blackstone’s CEO Stephen Schwarzman told one panel of his frequent trips to China. “The venture business there in AI-oriented companies is really exploding with growth.”

The attention on China’s rapidly evolving tech sector has overshadowed another area of competition between Beijing and Washington, which may be moving more slowly but is just as consequential: the battle for young minds. Nowhere is this competition to educate and attract younger generations more pronounced than in Southeast Asia, with its youthful demographics, fast-growing economies and array of geopolitical flashpoints. ...

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