In the latest deal, computer maker Dell Inc. has begun collaborating closely with Chinese companies in sectors that Beijing deems crucial to national security, such as helping a Chinese state-owned firm develop high-performance servers, and switching more than 40% of its personal computers sold in China to a Chinese operating system. Other technology-sharing agreements are expected to be announced before or during Mr. Xi's visit, which includes a visit to Seattle as well as Washington, D.C.
The deals typically conform to China's desires to turn its companies from manufacturers of others' designs to innovators and exporters—and to reduce the country's exposure to the security risk of relying on foreign technology.
"U.S. tech companies in the past year have learned that they will suffer significant repercussions if they don't transfer technology to China", said Robert Atkinson, founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a tech policy think tank.
Dell said it would invest $125 billion as part of a new “In China, for China” strategy. That figure includes the cost of procuring components to manufacture PCs and servers in China.
Dell also said on Thursday it was partnering with Chinese software and cloud company Kingsoft Corp. and state-owned technology conglomerate China Electronics Corp., whose subsidiary China Standard Software Co. makes a homegrown alternative to Microsoft's Windows operating system called NeoKylin.
Kingsoft Chief Executive Zhang Hongjiang said that Dell and his company were developing a cloud-service product. Kingsoft will control the data, he said. Dell Greater China President Chenhong Huang said details such as who controls the data are still being worked out.
Han Naiping, chief executive of China Standard Software, said that Dell became the first Western brand to make personal computers running his company's NeoKylin operating system. Mr. Huang said 42% of Dell's computers sold in China now run NeoKylin. Hewlett-Packard Co. also sells NeoKylin PCs in China.
NeoKylin was developed with China's National University of Defense Technology, which is administered by the Defense Ministry, in an effort to make a Chinese alternative to Windows. Windows still dominates the China market.
In another partnership, Tsinghua Tongfang Co. said Dell is helping it develop “high-performance computing products”, including servers and memory. Tongfang is a publicly listed subsidiary of state-owned Tsinghua Holdings Ltd.. Tongfang makes consumer electronics, but also security gear for China's government including metal detectors and the chips in national ID cards.
In addition to partnerships with private Chinese companies, Dell said it would collaborate with the Chinese Academy of Sciences to found a lab for artificial intelligence research.
Such deals have coincided with the increasing technical sophistication of many Chinese companies, which are no longer content to copy innovations from abroad. Huawei Technologies Co., for example, is emerging as a major developer of technology, said Handel Jones, an analyst who tracks China at International Business Strategies.