Lenovo 5G incident shows need for Chinese companies to cease mindless competition

By Xiao Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2018/5/16 22:08:40

A public letter co-signed by Lenovo Founder Liu Chuanzhi was issued Wednesday on the Chinese personal computer (PC) maker's official WeChat account, rebutting criticism that the company "committed treason" in fifth-generation (5G) standards voting in late 2016 taking Qualcomm's side.

The key takeaway from the public letter was that "Chinese businesses should unite and brush aside attempts to sow discord."

It is a timely wakeup call for Chinese companies. They are reaching a critical stage in their overseas expansion push, but they still face underhanded moves sometimes employed to derail Chinese businesses from achieving their global dreams.

Unfounded rumors can have damaging consequences for businesses, so under no circumstances should they let their guard down.

In this letter, which made the rounds on social media, the 74-year-old Lenovo founder, who has almost retired from public life, said that he was amazed by some reports that use malicious words and even put a "traitor" label on Lenovo, posing a serious challenge to the company's reputation.

Rumors that the company voted for LDPC codes, which were strongly pushed by US-based chipmaker Qualcomm and paved the way for Qualcomm's dominance in 5G standardization while resulting in Huawei's failure to have its Polar codes accepted, sparked anger among many Chinese online at a time when the world's two largest economies remain on track to mend trade ties.

Nevertheless, the reality is that, as the public letter revealed, at meetings held almost two years ago by 3GPP, a key mobile communications industry collaboration, Lenovo voted for LDPC codes in the first round of polling for enhanced mobile broadband - one of the three major 5G application scenarios - before supporting the Polar coding in the second round.

Worth pointing out is that the selection of coding schemes consists of two parts: data channel coding and control channel coding. The polling results showed that LDPC was selected as the official coding method for the data channel while Polar codes were the choice for the control channel.

As such, it can hardly be the case that Lenovo single-handedly gave Qualcomm a win over Huawei in 5G standard selection. As Liu wrote in Wednesday's letter, he made a call to Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, who stated there's no problem with Lenovo's 5G standard voting choices and he expressed thanks for Lenovo's support for Huawei.

The wrath incurred by the rumors, it is argued, should also be a reminder of the issue with vicious competition among Chinese companies seeking a foothold beyond their home turf.

There needs to be a call for Chinese businesses to unite against vicious competition and set up an effective mechanism to cultivate open-mindedness.

This mindset was clarified in a statement issued Tuesday by Huawei, which said that it's willing to continue efforts to recommend and share with industry partners more innovative technologies throughout standardization activities. It said it would never extort any other parties as the company pushes for joint efforts to build a sound 5G ecosystem. 

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn


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