China-US tech war

Huawei's new Honor 20 smartphone is seen at a product launch event in London, Britain, on 21 May 2019. (Peter Nicholls/File Photo/Reuters)

When a nation’s Honor is at stake: Huawei’s mega sale

Huawei confirmed that it is selling Honor, its budget-friendly smartphone brand to the state-backed consortium Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology Co., Ltd. Looks like all hands are on deck to save Huawei, says Yang Danxu, amid tough chip sanctions from the US. But will these efforts be enough?
Members of the PLA Honour Guard attend a flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square on National Day to mark the 71st anniversary of the founding of People's Republic of China, in Beijing, China, 1 October 2020. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

50 years later, is China ‘preparing for war’ again?

In China’s just-released "14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035", the centennial goal of modernising the PLA by the latter’s 100th anniversary in 2027 was set out. In the face of headwinds caused by turbulent US-China relations, does this spell China’s hardened mindset of getting prepared for war? What impact will such defensive thinking have on China and the world in the next 15 years?
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to appear in Supreme Court for a hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 26 October 2020. (Darryl Dyck/Bloomberg)

Huawei's Meng Wanzhou: Can Canada rectify a bad start?

The arrest of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in December 2018 brought China-Canada relations to an all-time low. But the recent round of hearings in which the Canadian judge agreed to admit new evidence may turn things around. Hong Kong academic Wang Jiangyu says that China might now be getting their hopes up that Canada will not simply do the bidding of the US.
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to appear in Supreme Court for a hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on 29 October 2020. (Darryl Dyck/Bloomberg)

The waiting game: Will Huawei's Meng Wanzhou return home soon?

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has been living in limbo since she was detained in Vancouver on the back of an extradition request from the US in relation to bank fraud charges. A Canadian judge ruled last week that part of Meng’s statement had an “air of reality” and that she was entitled to providing some additional evidence “to a limited extent”. Does this signal an upward momentum for Meng’s lawyers to overturn the US’s extradition request? Much would depend on seemingly extraneous factors such as the outcome of the US presidential race, says Beijing correspondent Yang Danxu.
A mining/crushing supervisor at MP Materials displays crushed ore before it is sent to the mill at the MP Materials rare earth mine in Mountain Pass, California, 30 January 2020. (Steve Marcus/File Photo/Reuters)

How to break China's monopoly on rare earths

Much attention has been focused on the burgeoning US-China tech war and the US’s suppression of Chinese companies. But less is known about China’s firm hold on the rare earths supply chain, which has the potential to derail the world’s production of products from the humble smartphone to F-35 aircraft and guided missile systems. In response, the US and its allies, including the EU, Japan and Australia, are actively coalescing around new rare earths strategies. But private investment alone will not be enough to challenge China’s global monopoly in rare earths. Can new international public-private partnerships be the answer?
This photo taken on 26 September 2020 shows first-year students holding a Chinese flag during a commencement ceremony at Wuhan University in Wuhan, Hubei, China. (STR/AFP)

Geopolitics is the biggest threat to China-US relations, not trade or tech wars

Contrary to doomsday predictions, the US-China trade and tech relationship is actually rather sturdy. After all, it was their economic and trade complementarity that brought them finally to agree on a phase one trade deal, and against all odds, US direct investments into China grew by 6% (from a year earlier) in the first half of the year. Geopolitics and volatile brinkmanship in the name of power relations could instead be the greater threat. But between Trump and Biden, which is the lesser evil?
A shop for Chinese telecom giant Huawei features a red sticker reading "5G" in Beijing, 25 May 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

China looks forward to a new world of 5G connectivity

The China-US 5G race has led to the rapid growth of certain industries, in particular, e-sports and working on the go. Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi examines the possibilities of 5G technology.
A paramilitary police officer wearing a face mask following the Covid-19 outbreak, stands guard outside the Great Hall of the People before the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China, on 22 May 2020. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

China must endure the storm, for time is on its side 

Senior research fellow at the East Asian Institute Lance Gore says that China must learn to rein in its rage and impatience and do its fair share of self-reflection. What good would it do if it gives in to petty emotions and provokes a US-led coalition against it? For sure, it still has room for manoeuvre, thanks to the attractiveness of its huge consumer market. But it must not miss the woods for the trees: the US is still more powerful than it is and the two are better off as friends than enemies. Question is, will China be able to be humble, look itself squarely in the mirror, and refrain from doing the things it must not?
The messenger app WeChat and short-video app TikTok are seen near China and U.S. flags in this illustration picture taken 7 August 2020. (Florence Lo/REUTERS)

Banning TikTok and WeChat: Is the US afraid of competition?

Despite little or no evidence that China apps TikTok and WeChat are a threat to US national security, Trump has signed executive orders effectively banning them from the US by 20 September. US-based academic Zhu Zhiqun reviews the possible reasons for Trump's decision, and discusses if other countries would follow suit.