As a leader at Fortis Quantum Solutions, I have the privilege of being at the forefront of the rapidly evolving field of quantum computing. The race for quantum supremacy is intensifying, with the United States and China emerging as the primary contenders. This blog post aims to provide a comprehensive overview of where the development of quantum computing stands in these two nations, highlighting their achievements, challenges, and future directions. It will also provide a deeper analysis of who is leading the quantum race quantitatively in qubit production and qualitatively with policy.

The United States: Innovation and Investment

The United States has long been a leader in technological innovation, and quantum computing is no exception. Major advancements have been driven by private-sector investment, academic research, and government support.

Key Players and Achievements

  1. IBM: IBM’s quantum computing division has pioneered in the field, with its IBM Quantum Experience providing cloud-based access to quantum processors.
    • 2016: IBM unveiled its first quantum computer that could be accessed via the cloud, offering 5 qubits.
    • 2017: IBM Quantum Experience provided 20-qubit systems, and they announced a 50-qubit prototype.
    • 2019: IBM launched the IBM Q System One, the world’s first integrated quantum computing system for commercial use, with 20 qubits.
    • 2020: IBM unveiled a roadmap for scaling quantum technology to 1,000 qubits and beyond by 2023 with its “Quantum Condor” system.
  2. Google: In 2019, Google announced that its quantum computer, Sycamore, had achieved quantum supremacy by performing a calculation in 200 seconds that would take the most powerful supercomputer 10,000 years. The Sycamore processor features 54 qubits, marking a significant milestone in quantum computing’s potential.
  3. Microsoft: Microsoft’s approach focuses on topological qubits, which promise greater stability and error rates. Their Azure Quantum platform integrates quantum computing with classical cloud services, making quantum resources more accessible.
  4. Honeywell: Honeywell has emerged as a key player in the quantum computing space with its trapped-ion technology.
    • 2020: Honeywell announced its H0 quantum computer with a quantum volume of 64.
    • 2021: Honeywell released the H1 quantum computer, featuring up to 10 fully connected qubits and achieving a quantum volume of 512.
  5. Government Initiatives: The National Quantum Initiative Act, signed into law in 2018, has provided a framework for advancing quantum information science and technology. It promotes collaboration across federal agencies, industry, and academia, with a budget of $1.2 billion over five years.

Quantitative Analysis: Qubit Production

The US has made substantial strides in qubit production. Companies like IBM and Google have achieved significant milestones in increasing qubit count and improving quantum volume, a metric that considers the number of qubits, error rates, and connectivity. IBM’s roadmap to 1,000 qubits by 2023 and Google’s 54-qubit Sycamore processor are notable examples of this progress. Honeywell’s approach, focusing on high-fidelity qubits and achieving higher quantum volumes, also showcases the US’s quantitative advancements in quantum computing.

Qualitative Analysis: Policy

The US government has recognized the strategic importance of quantum computing through initiatives like the National Quantum Initiative Act, which fosters collaboration between federal agencies, academia, and the private sector. The Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act and other policies emphasize the need for quantum-safe cryptography, highlighting the government’s proactive stance on quantum security. This comprehensive approach to policy ensures sustained investment, research, and development in quantum technologies.

China: Ambition and Rapid Progress

China’s approach to quantum computing is characterized by strong government backing, substantial funding, and an ambitious vision to lead in this strategic technology.

Key Players and Achievements

  1. Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS): CAS has been at the forefront of quantum research in China.
    • 2020: CAS developed the Jiuzhang quantum computer, which uses photonic qubits. Jiuzhang achieved quantum supremacy by solving a boson sampling problem significantly faster than the fastest classical supercomputers.
  2. University of Science and Technology of China (USTC): USTC has produced several breakthroughs in quantum computing.
    • 2017: USTC demonstrated the first 10-qubit entanglement using superconducting circuits.
    • 2019: USTC developed a 12-qubit superconducting processor.
    • 2021: USTC announced a new 62-qubit superconducting quantum processor named Zuchongzhi, which achieved a milestone in quantum computational advantage.
  3. Government Support: China’s 14th Five-Year Plan emphasizes quantum technology as a critical area of development. The government has invested heavily in quantum research centers and infrastructure, fostering a robust ecosystem for innovation.

Quantitative Analysis: Qubit Production

China’s achievements in qubit production are noteworthy, particularly in the realm of photonic and superconducting qubits. The Jiuzhang quantum computer’s success in achieving quantum supremacy with photonic qubits and USTC’s advancements with 62-qubit superconducting processors highlight China’s capabilities. These milestones demonstrate China’s rapid progress in increasing qubit counts and enhancing quantum performance metrics.

Qualitative Analysis: Policy

China’s centralized approach to quantum development is driven by substantial government investment and strategic planning. Policies outlined in the 14th Five-Year Plan emphasize quantum technology as a national priority. The government’s support includes funding for research centers, infrastructure development, and initiatives aimed at achieving quantum communication breakthroughs. This centralized and well-funded approach ensures that China’s quantum research is aligned with national goals and has the resources needed for rapid advancement.

Comparative Analysis: US vs. China

Both the US and China have made significant strides in quantum computing, yet their approaches and strategic priorities differ.

    1. Quantitative Lead:
      • US: The United States, with companies like IBM and Google, leads in terms of qubit production and advancements in quantum volume. The US’s roadmap to achieving 1,000 qubits and the demonstrated quantum supremacy with Google’s Sycamore processor highlight its quantitative edge.
      • China: China has made impressive strides with photonic and superconducting qubits. The Jiuzhang quantum computer’s quantum supremacy and USTC’s 62-qubit processor showcase China’s rapid progress and ambition in the quantum race.
    2. Qualitative Lead:
      • US: The US leads qualitatively with a comprehensive and collaborative policy framework. The National Quantum Initiative Act and other government policies emphasize the importance of quantum research and development, fostering an environment conducive to sustained innovation.
      • China: China’s centralized and well-funded approach to quantum development ensures alignment with national goals. The strategic emphasis on quantum technology in the 14th Five-Year Plan and substantial government investment demonstrate China’s commitment to leading in this field.



The race for quantum supremacy between the US and China is more than a technological competition; it is a contest that will shape the future of computing, national security, and global economic leadership. Both countries have demonstrated remarkable achievements and face unique challenges.

At Fortis Quantum Solutions, we recognize the importance of staying at the cutting edge of this rapidly evolving field. By understanding the strengths and strategies of both the US and China, we can better navigate the complexities of quantum computing and contribute to a future where quantum technologies are harnessed for the greater good.

As we move forward, international collaboration, continuous innovation, and strategic investments will be essential in unlocking quantum computing’s full potential. The journey is just beginning, and the possibilities are boundless.


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