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China technology

Tesla, Amazon, Microsoft and Qualcomm receive special mentions at Wuzhen World Internet Conference

  • The recognition signals these four US technology companies have managed to maintain friendly business relationships despite an escalating China-US trade war
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2018, 11:27am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2018, 11:45pm

Elon Musk’s Tesla and Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.com are among only four foreign companies whose products and services are included in a “World Leading Internet Scientific and Technological Achievements” list released by the state-sponsored Wuzhen Internet Conference on Wednesday.

Microsoft and Qualcomm are the other two foreign names, signalling that these four US technology companies have managed to maintain friendly business relationships despite an escalating China-US trade war.

The remaining 11 of the 15 firms with products on the list are all Chinese, including Tencent Holdings’ WeChat mini program, Huawei Technologies’ Ascent 310 chip, Alibaba Group Holding financial affiliate Ant Financial Services’ blockchain platform, Baidu’s driverless platform Apollo, Xiaomi’s artificial intelligence platform for smart homes, and 360 Group’s security-distributed intelligence cybersecurity protection system.

Tesla was cited for its “smart service”. Although the American electric car maker has experienced domestic difficulties this year – including a move by the US Secutities and Exchange Commission to sue Musk in the Southern District of New York for his abandoned attempt to take Tesla private – the company’s plan to build a factory in Shanghai has gone smoothly after landing a deal with the city’s government in July. Tesla has already started hiring for its Shanghai plant online.

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Amazon’s machine-learning platform SageMaker, developed by subsidiary Amazon Web Services (AWS), was also recognised by Wuzhen. AWS, the world’s leading cloud services provider, only started its operations in China in 2016. China’s domestic cloud services market is mainly dominated by local players such as Alibaba Cloud and Tencent Cloud. To comply with China’s Cybersecurity Law, AWS had to partner with China-based data centres – Beijing Sinnet Technology Co and Ningxia Western Cloud Data Technology Co – to serve Chinese customers.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Azure Sphere, a Linux-based operating system for the Internet of Things and Qualcomm‘s fully-integrated 5G NR millimeter wave and sub-6-gigahertz radio frequency modules – components for smartphones and other mobile devices that will pair with 5G modems – were also cited.

However, Google, which has been exploring a controversial plan to launch a censored search app in China, was not included in the list. Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, showed up on a panel discussion at the Wuzhen Conference last year.

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Chinese president Xi Jinping said in a letter to the Wuzhen Internet Conference that the fates of nations are “increasingly intertwined” with the "profound technological revolution", which is forcing China to speed up digitisation of its economic development.

Earlier this week, Xi pledged at the country’s first Import Expo held in Shanghai that China would continue to open China’s economy to the outside world, including lowering import tariffs and broadening market access, and voiced support for economic globalisation as the country is locked in a trade war with the US.

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In his keynote address to the inaugural China International Import Expo, an event created by Beijing to signal its intentions to increase its business with the rest of the world, Xi said China’s promise to buy more products and services from abroad is “not a temporary arrangement but a long-term consideration” and that the fair would become an annual event.

Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.