Every other day we hear that countries around the world are banning Chinese tech products and companies. From TikTok to companies like Huawei – they are all facing difficulties in convincing the world about their ‘noble’ intentions. Most people think Chinese companies are losing this battle to anti-China coalition of USA, UK, Australia, Japan and even India. However, nothing can be farther from the truth. Also Read: IBM to split 109-year old company to focus on high-margin cloud computing
Take Huawei for example – much of the world remains open to using the company’s technology. Huawei exists in more than 170 countries, including in Europe, and even Canada has yet to be convinced to block the Chinese Communist Party-linked company. This reflects the truth that America finds itself in today — namely, that China seems to be winning the war of building the world’s technology infrastructure. Also Read: Google faces antiturst case in India for abusing Android OS position in smart TV market
China’s drive to control technology world over is being managed via a program called the Digital Silk Road (DSR), a subcategory of the more commonly known Belt and Road Initiative. Launched in 2015, the DSR is a private-sector program backed by the state with the aim of broadening China’s digital authority abroad, and thus boosting its business and political influence.
The DSR is fulfilling the demand of connectivity from Asia to Africa to Latin America. Chinese companies have developed much of the world’s digital foundations, including fiber-optic cables and telecommunication network systems. Data centers have been built, and projects set up in smart education and online surveillance. Coronavirus is presenting new opportunities for Chinese firms in the fast-growing digital health care sector, with both Huawei and Alibaba sharing their coronavirus detection systems abroad.
China is strongly backing this expansion. Huawei’s success has been improved by a state-backed credit line that at one point touched $100 billion and made sure that it was able to outspend all its rivals not only on price, but on R&D too. Billions of dollars of advances have been given to countries to buy Chinese tech in the name of growth aid, and such is the DSR’s positive impact on global digital infrastructure that the program is now being referenced by the UN as a way to advance its own Sustainability Development Goals. Also Read: Founder of McAfee jailed in Spain for tax evasion charges
By the looks of it, US tech companies are doing well in comparison to their Chinese equals. Yet, US companies and their boards simply don’t have the inclination to spend money outside of their core Western and aligned markets; Oracle, one of America’s tech titans, has just a third of the global presence of Huawei. When US businesses do try to spend in emerging market infrastructure, they run the threat of allegations of “digital colonialism.” Also Read: OnePlus Nord N10 5G and Nord N100 coming to US by October end
Going by the commercial view, one can easily see that the Western companies are being eclipsed by their Chinese counterparts throughout the world. This should worry U.S., given what China wants to do with its tech supremacy. Also Read: Apple needs 5G iPhone 12 model in its arsenal if it wants to be relevant in China
By 2021, the Dragon power is expected to unleash the “China Standards 2035” proposal, which aims to set global standards for growing technologies such as the IoT, AI, and 5G over the next 15 years. With Chinese technology infrastructure present in so many countries, the 2035 plan will reinforce China’s specifications as the standard and give its businesses a substantial, and possibly lasting, commercial lead over their US rivals.
The Chinese domination in the tech world is happening. Baidu has developed the world’s first open source independent vehicle platform. It now has 130 countries in its kitty, including many of the European carmakers.
Beijing has its eyes set on blockchain too. It has launched the “Blockchain Service Network” (BSN), a government-regulated program that it intends to make dominant not only in China, but worldwide. In the six-months since its declaration, the BSN now existence in numerous countries, including Japan, Australia and the US.
Then there is the world wide web itself. China intends to rebuild the technological architecture that has aided the internet for the past 50-years with one fundamentally different form. The design, created by Huawei, calls for a new internet protocol (the New IP proposal) that would let the internet to be regulated by nation states. Though not likely to be approved globally soon, the plan is a reminder of how technology is not an ethics-neutral territory, but is supported by independent ideals that can be questioned. Also Read: Google Pixel 5, Pixel 4a 5G with Snapdragon 765G SoC launched: Specifications, price and features
This is the real problem that Chinese technological influence generates. Beijing wants to outline the requirements of vital future technologies, and the principles upon which they are built — a move that will bend the world away from US commercial and political influence. Also Read: Twitter is spying on your Tweets with help from AI-powered mining startup Dataminr
The world wants more connectivity in the future, and China is all set to meet the demand. US needs to build new partnerships and create a different “Digital Silk Road” if it is to keep its long-term influence.