China’s Science Ministry recently announced the delivery of its first practical quantum computer to an unnamed user a year ago. The 24-qubit Wuyan system was built by Origin Quantum Computing Technology and uses superconducting technology. This makes China the third country, after Canada and the US, to deliver a complete quantum computer system to a customer.
The announcement has raised some skepticism, with some experts questioning the timing. Weifeng Zhong, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center of George Mason University in Virginia, believes the announcement could be an attempt by China to boost its image as a technology leader. Zhong stated that if the system were important for national security, it would not have been disclosed in such a transparent way by the Chinese authorities.
On the other hand, Hodan Omaar, a senior AI policy analyst at the Center for Data Innovation in Washington, D.C., views the announcement as a significant step in China’s quantum development.
Omaar emphasized that investing in near-term quantum computing applications will help improve competitiveness and support the development of longer-term use cases of the technology. Overcoming technical challenges in the development of large-scale quantum computers will depend on the ability to increase the number of qubits, similar to how classical computers have relied on the growth in the number of transistors in superconducting chips.