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Sanctions on Huawei Indicate The US Is Threatened By Its Success

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The US feels threatened by Chinese tech giant Huawei’s success which is why it has placed unreasonable sanctions on the company. It is ironic that the proponents of specialization and free trade now want Huawei to re-invent the wheel (i.e. operating and social utility software) using national security as an excuse, writes Bilal Zia.

Tensions between China and the US over their bilateral trade have been getting intense ever since Trump came into power but a few could have guessed that as a result, Huawei phone users will be denied Google Services. Huawei is 2nd largest smartphone brand in the world after Samsung with revenue over $ 100 billion having 29% of global telecom market share.

But with this sanction by Google, more than 50% of Huawei business (i.e. their foreign segment) is under threat now. It’s a shame that a country that stands for free market as its national ideology is breaching its own standards just because it considers its technological supremacy to be under threat.

Huawei is going to sweep upcoming high speed 5G market. 5G signals require very short wavelengths (24GHz to 100Ghz) as compared to earlier technologies with a downside that the distance these waves can travel is also very short.

Thus, to have a 5G network, a dense web of 5G antennas is required (on every 100 meters) to relay the signals and that’s where Huawei is going to rule the telecommunication world in the future by claiming at least 50% of the 5G market share as they have pioneered this infrastructure technology way earlier than the competition.

First the whole manufacturing process and now supremacy in state-of-the-art technology, the US definitely feels threatened by this situation. It had already been restricting Huawei networking equipment’s alleging it as China’s way of eavesdropping on US though the evidence presented to support this does not appear to be persuasive. And now Google tells Huawei that Google services (YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps) will not be available to Huawei phones in future.

For local Chinese cellphone user, this is not big news directly because China generally has their own brands of social media and mobile utility services. But for Huawei consumers outside China, (which include Pakistanis) Huawei cellphones will be virtually unusable especially for those who use smartphone only to surf YouTube and Google Maps.

Though US gave 90 days relief period to carriers to taper off their ongoing arrangements and it might also extend this period, the major damage is already done.

Even if this strategy was to slow down Huawei by threatening them only (as they have done the same with ZTE in 2018), Huawei is likely to launch their own operating and utility software in due course. The current US move can take either Huawei out of market or slow its popularity down for extended period of time. It can also force Huawei to grow to a level to compete directly with the likes of Google.

But the problem at hand is bigger than this. Tech industry is truly global industry with a lot of intermediate products being produced in different parts of the world and then packaged as one smartphone under a handful of established brands. Both these tech giants, Huawei and Google, benefit from each other.

For instance, Huawei use tried and tested Google services and operating system and on the other hand, it invested $ 13 billion in research and development this year to come up with excellent piece of smartphone hardware. If sanctions are applied in such brutal manner, this will open a Pandora’s Box at the expense of product quality.

For instance, if the tensions between China and the US continue, it is only a matter of time that iPhone manufacturing in China will also come under radar and so on. Free Trade in tech industry took the product quality to ultimate highs.

It is ironic that the proponents of specialization and free trade now want Huawei to re-invent the wheel (i.e. operating and social utility software) using national security as an excuse.

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