‘Geointellect’ is an emerging manifestation of China’s global influence. I coined this term to denote a country’s dominance in higher education, research and innovation paradigms across geographies. Though facilitated at times by soft power, geointellect is differentiated, inter alia, by its rationale to establish and consolidate China’s global intellectual dominance.
Its focus is on vigorously enhancing the visibility of Chinese academic and research institutions and of disciplines – inclusive of concepts and theories – which exhibit Chinese characteristics. Thus, while soft power is ‘a means to success in world politics’, geointellect symbolises the crown of knowledge.
Moreover, geointellect is constructed, unlike soft power, which is tethered to others’ perceptions and opinions and is, as China expert David Shambaugh points out, “earned”. Succinctly, it is to national rejuvenation what a spoke is to a hub.