Japan to lose from ban on Huawei in 5G era

By Huang Ge Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/18 21:03:40

New focus of bilateral friction as country influenced by US

A Huawei booth at an international exhibition in Singapore in June 2012 Photo: CFP

Japan is likely to lose sound opportunities in the development of 5G technology and bear more costs if the country joins the US and insists on restricting cooperation with Chinese companies like Huawei, industry insiders said Thursday.

It is possible that retaliation measures will be rolled out toward relevant Japanese companies in sectors beyond 5G, they said.

At a recent high-level economic dialogue between the two countries in Beijing, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged Japan not to shut Chinese telecommunications companies out of 5G network-related business, Japanese news site asia.nikkei.com reported on Tuesday.

Huawei was mentioned repeatedly at the meeting, as Wang asked his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono, "Why is the Japanese government excluding Huawei?" according to the report.

An increasing number of countries have shown a fair attitude toward Chinese companies' participation in 5G construction, and "we hope relevant countries can give Chinese companies fair and just treatment," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told the Global Times at a press conference on Thursday.

Germany's telecoms regulator has confirmed that Huawei will not be excluded from 5G contracts in the country, the Financial Times reported on Monday. Belgium's center for cybersecurity has found no evidence that telecoms equipment supplied by Huawei could be used for spying, Reuters said.

These developments proved again that most countries can independently make policy choices that meet their own interests, Lu said.

Discriminatory measures that target certain countries in 5G development will not bring security but will disturb global supply chains and hinder technology application, Gao Feng, spokesperson of China's Ministry of Commerce, told a meeting on Thursday.

Cybersecurity is a global challenge and no country can deal with it alone, Gao noted.

Joining the US, Japan in December 2018 issued instructions banning government purchases of equipment from China's Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp, media reports said. 

China-Japan relations recently grew warmer, but the treatment of 5G technology will become a source of friction between the two countries amid China's trade tensions with the US, Fu Liang, a Beijing-based independent telecom analyst, told the Global Times. 

"Japan was largely influenced by the US" in its decision to ban Huawei, Fu said.

As the world's largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer, Huawei enjoys an edge in price compared with rivals, and Japan's ban will compel its carriers to spend more, Fu noted.

Apart from the increasing cost, the ban would lead to chain reactions such as low efficiency in the industry, said Zhang Yi, CEO of iiMedia Research Institute, a mobile internet consulting firm based in South China's Guangdong Province.

For instance, China is a leading global smartphone maker, and the products of Chinese makers basically comply with Huawei's standards. It will take a longer adaptation process after Japan abandons using Huawei's equipment and standards, according to Zhang."It's possible that retaliation measures would be rolled out toward relevant Japanese companies in the Chinese market by enhancing their access threshold, not only in the 5G sector but also in other industries," Zhang told the Global Times on Thursday.Industry insiders noted that Japan's restrictions on Huawei products will also affect the Chinese company's purchase of components in Japan, making local firms lose billions of dollars. Huawei bought 670 billion yen ($6 billion) worth of components from Japanese companies in 2018, according to domestic news site guancha.cn.


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