Western attacks on Chinese tech companies leave no winner: experts
Published: Mar 16, 2023 12:26 AM
TikTok Photo: VCG

TikTok Photo: VCG

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday urged the UK to respect the objective facts, abide by market rules and refrain from abusing the concept of national security after news of UK plans to conduct an investigation into TikTok and consider restricting the use of the app for safety reasons.

Western governments have stepped up their crackdown on the app amid a broader suppression of China’s technology industry, citing so called national security concerns, but this will leave no winner and will undermine the development of the global technology industry, experts said.

The UK Security Ministry said on Tuesday that Britain's National Cyber Security Centre is reviewing whether Chinese-owned video app TikTok should be banned from government phones, Reuters reported. 

In an interview with Times Radio, Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said: "We need to make sure that our phones are not spyware, but useful tools for us."

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China has always been open and cooperative on the issue of data security.

In 2020, China put forward the Global Initiative on Data Security, which suggested that states should encourage companies to abide by laws and regulations of the state where they operate. It also clearly stressed that states should respect the sovereignty, jurisdiction and governance of data of other states, and should not obtain data located in other states through companies or individuals without other states' permission.

“This is what China says and has always done,” Wang said, urging the UK to stop generalizing and abusing the concept of national security, and to provide a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for companies of all countries. 

The UK’s investigation into TikTok comes after countries including the US, Canada and Belgium banned the app from government devices, Reuters reported.

The Western attempts to crack down on China's high-tech sector have intensified recently under pressure from the US, Ma Jihua, a veteran expert in the technology industry, told the Global Times on Wednesday, adding that such an unfair crackdown on Chinese companies leaves no winner.

“Their true intention is to use government power to interfere with competition in the marketplace, to suppress good companies that are putting commercial pressure on their core business,” Ma said.

Such protectionism would have some impact on the normal development of Chinese companies but more importantly, it will bring a lot of uncertainty to international cooperation and investment, experts said.

“It seems that it is only aimed at China, but the sanctions and restrictions will create fear in international scientific and technological cooperation and the use of non-market means to suppress competition will have a negative impact on scientific and technological innovation,” Ma said.

But it will not have a big impact on Chinese companies, Zhang Yi, CEO of iiMedia Research Institute, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

“The setbacks will not slow down Chinese companies’ overseas expansion. On the contrary, it will be an important experience and lesson for the companies’ globalization strategy,” Zhang said.