oldephartte (oldephartte) wrote,

Why is there no outrage about China's ban on US tech : Quora

Feng Qiu
Feng Qiu, Tech lover, studied in the US, now living in China

There wasn’t such a big outrage when the US effectively “banned” Huawei, years ago. Back then the US still cared about morality, so they did it more subtly: they “pressured” big telecoms in the US from buying Huawei equipments and selling Huawei phones. As the US handset market is controlled by carriers, the result of this is effectively 0 market share for both Huawei equipments and smartphones in the US, thus effectively achieving a ban. There wasn’t an outrage regarding this, and Huawei still became the biggest telecom equipment provider and was on track to become the biggest smartphone maker in the world without the US market.

The newest development is different, hence the outrage. It’s not about banning Huawei from accessing the US market, it’s about banning Huawei from using any US technology in its products, thereby disrupting the global supply chains, and undermining the very core of trust on which globalization is built.

Suppose you have a multi-billion dollar business that rely on other people’s technology, and suddenly all those technology becomes unavailable to you, and that kills your company instantly. What will be your lesson? To not rely on other people, right?

Now suppose you have invented a great technology, that is needed by many other companies, by conventional wisdom, you will be rich soon. But you find that no one buys that technology from you, they all choose to reinvent the wheel and develop this technology themselves, because they have learned the lesson to not rely on other people.

This is a lose-lose situation.

Globalization is about collaboration, it’s about preventing the wasted work in reinventing wheels, it’s about division of labor and specialization to improve efficiency, it’s about the betterment of humanity as a whole, but collaboration can only happen when there is trust. For the US specifically, as a developed country, it shouldn’t be contending for those low-paying manufacturing jobs, it should focus on high-value technologies, and this is what’s best for the US as a whole.

As for America’s internal allocation problems, which caused the (admittedly very valid) grievances of the middle class workers, these problems need to be solved, but not by forcing low-tech jobs back into America, most of which BTW will be replaced by AI robots soon.

This is obviously against Trump’s stated goal of boosting American exports, by not allowing a big buyer from buying at all. And this is harming the core US competitive advantage, ie high-tech exports, in the future, which is now made evident by the ARM news.

ARM isn’t a US company, nor does it have bad relations with the US government, it just uses US tech in its products, and now it’s banned from selling to one of its biggest customers, and potentially all buyers from China in the future. So if you are a tech firm, even if you are from Europe, Japan, South Korea, etc, and you don’t expect to be sanctioned by the US government like Huawei is (which I’m not sure will always hold true especially when you become big enough, but let’s just assume it will for now), even if this non-sense only ever happens between the US and China, you still will try your best to shun US tech in your products, if only to not lose the world’s biggest market.

Tags: free trade, globalization
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