U.S.-China tensions are rising about Beijing's treatment of foreign firms' intellectual property, but China already recognizes the need to protect its own technologies, according to one CEO.
Speaking with CNBC's Dan Murphy on Wednesday, Bill Studebaker of Robo Global said China has been a "chronic abuser" of intellectual property in the technology space, but "it sort of recognizes that they need to come to the table and protect their own IP."
China filed the most patents of any country in the world in 2017, Studebaker said, with the country making up more than 42 percent of the global patent applications.
Earlier this week, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow claimed China needs to steal technology from the U.S. in order to stay ahead. Responding to that, Studebaker acknowledged China has been lacking in certain tech sectors and has bought a lot of technologies from elsewhere, but he said it was "clearly kind of a world power" in the artificial intelligence space.
China has "a big vested interest in being recognized as an AI superpower," Studebaker said, pointing to the country's investment of more than $150 billion for the establishment of AI infrastructure and architecture.