US-China tech war & rivalry

The race for the tech of the future
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The US and China are ramping up competition to see who will the future of global technology

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Alleging slave labour and drugs smuggling, some American senators are zoning in on how the country’s de minimis rule benefits Chinese companies. But levying duties on low-value shipments will only punish consumers and small businesses.
World leaders agree artificial intelligence in the wrong hands could be a threat to humanity and have taken steps to avoid such a scenario.
The debate on deglobalisation has become much more complex than when Donald Trump started putting up tariff barriers. But whether it’s global supply chains for chips or foreign investment flows, it seems there is no going back to the way world trade was.
Amid delays, higher costs and worker complaints, one wonders if TSMC’s plans in Arizona are anything other than an effort to stay in the US’ good graces.
Markets no longer have priority over national security, and economic interdependence with Beijing is considered a threat at the very least.
SCMP ColumnistAlex Lo
With competition throwing up market barriers, industry players in Hong Kong and around the world must do their best to keep lines of international communication as open as possible.
For all the talk of the benefits reshoring and ‘de-risking’ can bring domestic workers, they also introduce new risks to people’s way of life. Neither the US nor China can afford to ignore these new risks, including limited job creation, expensive subsidies and greater material costs.
With its strength in critical sectors like batteries and chips, South Korea’s suitability as a friendly shore is coloured by its companies’ dependence on Chinese inputs and demand. Extending China waivers for Korean companies, as the US has done, only undermines its own industry policy.
Amid shifts in geopolitics, supply chains and global trade, companies have been scared into rethinking how they operate and invest. Government officials who are reshaping the world economy without a sound understanding of consequences could well break the system.
Recent moves raise hopes of greater cooperation and dialogue, and less confrontation and tit-for-tat measures that do nothing to resolve disputes.
Strategic thinking requires a focus on the longer term and is largely absent in US policies today. Yet, US tactics such as tariffs and sanctions have not stopped Huawei from developing its breakthrough new phone.
The Chinese tech giant’s low-key launch of its new ‘breakthrough’ smartphone has caused consternation in the United States. And Washington’s efforts to try to contain the nation’s tech rise only raise costs for everyone.
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