5G Technology

An attendee wearing a virtual reality (VR) headset takes part in a concert experience in the metaverse at the SK Telecom Co. stand on the opening day of the MWC Barcelona at the Fira de Barcelona venue in Barcelona, Spain, on 28 February 2022. (Angel Garcia/Bloomberg)

Metaverse: What is it and who's in control?

The phrase “metaverse” has been bandied about but what exactly is it and how far along is the project? Academic James Pang and entrepreneur Liang Xinjun explain that the implications of this development are larger than most think. The metaverse is not so much a sub-world to enter into on the side but the integration of the real and virtual worlds and economic systems, essentially creating a new world with new governance structures and norms. US and Chinese firms are, of course, racing to get a big slice of the future.
People check a display near a Huawei logo during a media day for the Auto Shanghai show in Shanghai, China, 19 April 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Huawei: China's Tesla challenger in the making?

Huawei has long denied that it will enter the auto manufacturing industry. Instead, the company has emphasised its partnership with automakers to build autonomous driving technology. However, since the launch of a luxury electric SUV, the M5, the market has begun speculating whether Huawei’s stance on the auto business has changed.
Visitors are pictured in front of an immersive art installation titled "Machine Hallucinations — Space: Metaverse" by media artist Refik Anadol, which will be converted into NFT and auctioned online at Sotheby's, at the Digital Art Fair, in Hong Kong, China, 30 September 2021. (Tyrone Siu/File Photo/Reuters)

Metaverse: A chance to build a better world

Academic Pei Sai Fan says that one should dream big with the metaverse and not only see it as a new avenue of making money. By creating a new virtual universe from scratch, we can make good use of the blockchain-based metaverse to promote an equitable, more transparent and more inclusive rules-based international digital currency and financial system and enhance the global governance system to deal with issues facing all countries. This would require a global approach and China is well placed technologically to actively participate and lead the effort with like-minded nations in creating such a metaverse. It would be a pity if countries squandered such an opportunity to truly build a better world for all mankind.
People watch a lights performance at TelcoDR Cloud City during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, 29 June 2021. (Albert Gea/Reuters)

China’s cloud war: Huawei leading the three-cornered fight? [Part 1]

In recent years and since the pandemic led to the surge in live streaming, e-learning and other online activities, the demand for cloud computing and related services has increased significantly. Chinese companies led by frontrunners Huawei, Tencent and Alibaba are launching into all-out competition in the cloud services sector. In particular, Huawei Cloud experienced a surge in year-on-year earnings of 168%, despite US sanctions. Huawei Cloud is also aiming to clinch the top spot in the sector, erstwhile occupied by Alibaba Cloud. Caixin journalist Zhang Erchi takes a deep dive into the issue to get a sense of who's really leading the fight. In part one of the story, he focuses on Huawei.
A navigation map on the app of Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi is seen on a mobile phone in front of the app logo displayed in this illustration picture taken 1 July 2021. (Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo/Reuters)

Didi COO and family called 'traitors': Chinese tech entrepreneurs now public enemies on social media?

If being removed from app stores is not enough, ride-hailing giant Didi is making the headlines for another debacle. COO Jean Liu; her father, Lenovo founder Liu Chuanzhi; and her grandfather, the late patent lawyer Liu Gushu, are being vilified on Weibo for alleged misdeeds and being “traitors to the country”. Amid tense US-China relations and domestic nationalism in overdrive, will internet giants like Didi be easy targets and buckle under the pressure? Zaobao’s China Desk files this report based on various Chinese media sources.
A girl uses a mobile phone as she rests on a bench in Beijing, China, on 4 March 2021. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

A former Singapore journalist remembers a very different China in the 1980s

Former journalist Teo Han Wue chuckles as he recalls his first assignment in China covering an international Confucianism conference in Qufu, Confucius’ hometown in Shandong. Telecommunications facilities then were a far cry from the advances in 5G or AI that China enjoys now. Even sending a facsimile was a comedy of errors.
Protestors hold slogans as they take part in a rally against the Japanese government's decision to release treated water from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the ocean, outside of the prime minister's office in Tokyo, Japan, on 13 April 2021. (Yuki Iwamura/AFP)

Fukushima wastewater: Why China is protesting while the US gives the nod

Japan’s neighbours, China the most vociferous among them, have protested against Japan’s decision to dump contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean in two years’ time. On the other hand, Western countries have been accused of making minimal noise on account that it’s Japan. Is this another case of geopolitics politicising the situation? Would the world have reacted differently if it were China doing the dumping?
A worker makes finishing touches to a signage for 5G mmWave at the MWC Shanghai exhibition in Shanghai, China, on 23 February 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Has China surpassed the US in the 5G race?

In the development of 1G to 4G technology, the US, Europe and Japan took turns to dominate. When it comes to 5G, China says that it has built the largest 5G network globally with other 718,000 5G base stations throughout the country, which is at least ten times the network in the US. China is also strong in 5G chip design and is making inroads in setting global standards for wireless networks. Is China getting a leg up in the tech race? 
People walk along a commercial street in central Paris, France, on 23 December 2020. (Christophe Archambault/AFP)

Securing its place in the world economic order: The EU can't afford to wait for the US

The conclusion of the EU-UK Trade Cooperation Agreement and the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) in the last days of 2020 sent a strong signal that the EU will not wait for the US to resume a leading role in the world economic order. Building partnerships with countries like China are just the impetus the EU needs to deepen integration and build better prospects for itself. In this move away from a US-centric view of the economic order, the EU is not alone.