US China Trade War

What Will The New Decade Bring For The US – China Trade War?

One of the key issues of 2019 was the conflict between America and China, which seems likely to continue throughout 2020. While President Trump’s “war” against many of the top Chinese technology firms – including Huawei – has made headlines for most of the year, the stories that China has banned a majority of America’s consumer content-based technologies, or that there has been political pressure placed on many western technology giants could easily have been missed. However the new decade looks like there will be further restrictions placed on technology between countries.

One of the major factors has been the “splinternet” that has seen some governments decide which content its citizens can find online. Countries including China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Russia are continuing to filter what is being shown in their countries, however, there are many other countries around the world who appear to be having smaller restrictions on certain areas of content – including specific websites such as news sites, content sharing, communication platforms and the majority of social media.

While content censorship is increasing throughout the world, technology companies have continued their hold over many other countries. For instance, a majority of countries now use a desktop and mobile operating system that is favored by American companies. With travel rates also increasing, this has become a necessity with travelers expecting to step off an airplane in any given country and be able to connect to the internet from their device.

Back in December there was talk that Huawei – frustrated at America’s continuing ban resulting in them being unable to access American technology – is about to start creating their own Android software and services. As the world’s largest manufacturer of telecoms equipment – Huawei already has 42% of the Chinese market as well as over 25% of the Russian market – the likelihood of success seems increased. While other companies have tried to compete against Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android over the last decade, it seems the 20s could be the year of new operating systems.

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Also in December, the Chinese state media confirmed they would be launching an alternative to the United States’ GPS satellite navigation system. ‘Beidou’ has been seen as a major disconnection from the standard US technology with China stating that Beidou’s 35 satellites will be a higher standard than the current global gold standard GPS network.

With 70% of smartphones in China ready to utilize the new network it seems that the market is already there for Beidou – Chinese for “Big Dipper” – with the service working towards promoting 5G services and adoption.

However Beidou will not be restricted to China as there will be a major campaign to convert South East Asian, Eastern European and African markets to the new network. Working along the same vein as their new Belt and Road initiative, the GPS system will also provide higher accuracy levels that are usually kept for military or security specialists.

At the Council on Foreign Relations in November Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission announced that “you don’t have to look hard to find evidence that the Chinese government is willing and able to use its growing influence over global commerce to advance its own interests.”

Pai’s words appear to be centered on the way China is utilizing its influence to reduce the recent criticism of its domestic policies as well as Huawei’s role in the investment of 5g networks worldwide.

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The beginning of 2020 is in stark contrast to the beginning of 2010. A decade ago there were many theoretical divides whereas now they’re becoming a reality. Due to the trade war many countries are finding themselves in a position where they have to decide between Chinese commerce and investment or America’s security and political engagement, with Russia’s President Putin referring to the issue as “the first technological war of the coming digital era,” highlighting the fact that this trade war could lead into something that could be much more powerful in the upcoming years.

So what will be happening in 2020? Canada is currently looking at the request from America to extradite Meng Wanzhou – Huawei’s CFO – while both Germany and the United Kingdom are still looking into whether they will allow Huawei into their networks.

Huawei are also launching their P40 device, which could lead to a competitor to Google’s software as well as their services throughout the worldwide markets.

The US Commerce Department is also due to make a decision on whether they will loosen supplier restrictions on companies based in the United States, which could affect the election during the second half of the year.

If there is a massive change in the way technology is used across the world there could be significant implications to travelers as well as consumers. While China would see an increase on its influence over the rest of the world, America could see a loss on their material market share.