Facing US tech war, China needs to turn to homegrown innovations

By Chu Daye Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/24 21:38:40

Country should prepare for long ‘tech-war’: expert

A pedestrian walks past a Huawei store in Sydney, Australia, May 23, 2019. Photo: Xinhua

China should forgo the illusion of obtaining technology from the US, and turn to homegrown innovations, and Chinese companies should prepare for a "tech war" lasting a decade, Chinese experts said Sunday in response to the US' blacklisting 33 Chinese entities on Friday.

The US Department of Commerce added 33 Chinese technology firms, colleges and research institutes into its Entity List, banning them from accessing US technology supplies. Huawei was placed on the same list in May 2019.

The move came amid rising bilateral tensions since the Trump administration moved to assault Huawei by cutting off its semiconductor chips made with US technology. The US ban also came at a delicate time during China's two sessions, the law-making National People's Congress and the advisory CPPCC's annual session.

Many of the new blacklisted companies are technology firms with achievements in their respective fields, but the list also includes companies from more traditional sectors such as Aksu Huafu Textiles Co. Several companies said they were not surprised and had worked out contingency plans.

Chinese leading cybersecurity enterprise Qihoo 360 said its being listed was caused by its exposing evidence of cyberattacks by US intelligence agencies on China that lasted for more than a decade.

Chinese experts said the latest US action is a continuation of its tech decoupling efforts. 

Mei Xinyu, an expert close to China's commerce ministry, said Chinese companies should lower their expectations in the US market and those of the other Five Eyes countries during the next 10 years, and take precautions to prevent incident such as Canada's detainment of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou from happening again. The other four countries are Australia, Canada, the UK and New Zealand. 

However, the US curb will not prevent the blacklisted Chinese entities from growing, provided that they keep their focus on non-US markets, Mei said. "The US accounts for 17 percent of the world's import market which is shrinking," Mei noted. 

Zhou Shijian, a senior research fellow at the Center for US-China Relations at Tsinghua University, said that the US is shooting itself in the foot. The ban is depriving its own tech firms of billions of dollars in revenue that could be put into future research activities.

"The move by the US, which is part of a systematic move aimed at technological decoupling, will only quicken China's plan to develop homegrown high-tech," Zhou told the Global Times on Sunday. 

The US' technology attack against Chinese entities has been noticed by Chinese lawmakers and political advisors attending the ongoing two sessions in Beijing.

Li Dongsheng, chairman of electronics giant TCL and a deputy to the NPC, said in a motion that cooperation with the US in technology field is being cut off. Despite its status as the largest electronics maker, China is reliant on key materials and equipment from US suppliers. 

Zhou said one of the shortcomings of Chinese companies is their desire to "buy and own" technologies. Now their illusion should come to an end, and they have to rely on themselves to innovate. 

And, Chinese experts warned against seeking reciprocal damages in the upcoming tech conflict with the US.

"Now that the US has paraded itself to the world as a coercive power and always wielding its sanctioning club, we should let it continue to play," Mei told the Global Times on Sunday, adding China should always behave like a responsible and trustworthy trade partner. 

Newspaper headline: Local innovation to lead way


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