Something inevitable has happened to the relationship between hardware and software－the twohave now largely merged into one.
And managing that successful marriage has become one of the cornerstones of sustainedeconomic growth around the globe and a yardstick for fruitful partnerships between nationalpolicymakers and industry.
China seems to be very much on the right track, with its own version of this modern union, the"Made in China 2025" program, recently unveiled.
As this comes against the backdrop of the "Make in India" campaign launched by the Indiangovernment to rejuvenate its own manufacturing sector, it's clear the two nations now share verysimilar information technology priorities.
"Made in China 2025" is aimed at integrating mobile Internet, cloud computing and big data withmodern manufacturing, and encourages the development of several industries such as e-commerce and Internet banking.
Gordon Orr, the Asia chairman of global consulting firm McKinsey & Co, underlined in a recentarticle that the country's IT sector will be one of the key beneficiaries of the new initiative, whichwill help expand domestic demand, grow local manufacturing across multiple sectors, and boostexports in the next decade.
In the years I have been in Beijing, I have watched the country's IT industry evolve from thecrowded stalls of Zhongguancun selling hardware of all kinds, into high-end manufacturing andresearch projects using cutting-edge technologies.
While Beijing certainly seems to be moving up the IT ladder, in my hometown Bengaluru, widely recognized as India's Silicon Valley, the industry is already on firm ground and has moved ontoits next stage with a flourishing IT startup network focused on innovation.
The strongest evidence that IT will inevitably become important for China came during the recentBig Data summit in Guizhou province, where officials revealed they would set up a $10 billionproject to build the country's biggest software and information technology industry hub.
The announcement underlined China's renewed push to build an IT services industry, tocomplement its manufacturing prowess.
The giant industry site will be created in Gui'an, a new city being built near the provincial capitalGuiyang, spread over 32 square kilometers.
Understanding the importance of the initiative, the local government has sought the help ofleading Indian software giants such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd and Infosys Ltd, not only tobe core tenants but also involved in its creation.
"We want to develop a really strong IT industry. India is the leader in software development so wehope Indian companies will play a major role," said Wang Jiangping, the vice-governor ofGuizhou.
Sujit Chatterjee, the president of TCS China, said in a recent interview that there is significantpotential and headroom for both India and China to grab a larger share of the global IT pie,working hand-in-hand.
"China has over the last three to four decades done significantly well in bringing down overallcosts to economies of scale. Indian IT, on the other hand, brings in significant amounts of valuecreation through innovation," said Chatterjee.
"Together India and China would be a compelling proposition."
Though both India and China have long talked about complementing each other in hardware andsoftware, there have been very few instances of actual cooperation.
And that's where the new "Made in China 2025" will really make its mark, say industry experts.
Leon Liao, head of marketing at Infosys China, tells me that globally the IT industry is under going tremend ous change, with digital technology fundamentally transforming the world we are in,reshaping it with a digitalized future.
"India, as a world leader in IT, is at the forefront of software development, big data, analytics,cloud computing and other advanced technologies.
"China has a lot to learn from India in terms of software development and services, IT technology,designing and professional skills although it outruns India in areas like hardware manufacturing,infrastructure, and has a relatively larger volume of IT industry output and industrial andoperational scale," said Liao.
He is certain the two countries can learn from each other, complement their respectiveweaknesses using the other's strength, and cooperate to achieve mutual wins.