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AssessmentsFeb 7, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
An employee sits in the showroom of an Apple store in Beijing after it closed for the day on Feb. 1, 2020.
The Coronavirus Spreads Fears of a Shutdown in China's Tech Sector
Without question, the new coronavirus has taken a toll on China and many other places in the world, infecting at least 30,600 people and killing 633 as of Feb. 7. But only now, as the Lunar New Year holiday draws to a close, is Beijing preparing to assess just how much economic damage the coronavirus outbreak has wrought, especially as China is central to the global electronics and information technology sector. Ultimately, the breadth of the impact depends on how far the virus spreads beyond its current location. Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan, are not critical nodes for the vast majority of China's electronics sector. But neighboring provinces, including Shaanxi, Henan and Jiangxi, are home to cities that are prominent in the global technology sector, while the provinces with the second and third most confirmed cases so far, Zhejiang and Guangdong, are arguably China's two most critical areas for tech.
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On GeopoliticsNov 1, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
The national flags of China and the United States.
By Mixing Tech and Human Rights Sanctions on China, the White House Crosses the Rubicon
Conspicuously absent from an emerging China-U.S. trade truce is the outstanding issue of U.S. export restrictions against Huawei. The omission reveals an uncomfortable and growing reality for U.S. tech firms: Politically convenient trade truces will come and go, but the strategic competition between the United States and China is deepening. Technology is a fundamental component of this broader rivalry, which also makes it a radioactive element in the trade talks and a prime target for China hawks advocating a decoupling of the U.S. and Chinese economies. At this stage of the competition, national security, human rights and sovereignty are getting mashed together along with American public attitudes on how to contend with China when it comes to shaping U.S. policy. As a result, the political room to negotiate on an issue like Huawei is narrowing by the day, driving a more hard-line U.S. policy toward China overall.
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Partner PerspectivesAug 16, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Beyond 5G networks like the one Huawei is helping build in Cambodia with partner Smart Axiata, Chinese companies are aggressively building cloud computing and ecommerce businesses to serve markets in Southeast Asia.
Follow the Digital Silk Road
China’s tech prowess offers business opportunities – but also security concerns – for Southeast Asian nations. So how will the United States respond?
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AssessmentsJun 7, 2019 | 06:19 GMT
This picture taken on Feb. 20, 2019, shows job seekers looking at employment postings at a recruitment fair in Qingdao in China's eastern Shandong province.
Beijing Makes a Push To Keep China Working at All Costs
One of the principal tools at the disposal of Chinese leaders to preserve social stability and bolster political capital is (and always has always been) employment. But their ability to fulfill the ideal of near-universal employment in China has diminished over the past few months under the strains of a cooling economy and the challenges brought by a trade war with the United States. In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, when tens of million low-end manufacturing workers lost their jobs as exports suffered, Chinese authorities led an intense effort to diversify the economy by building up the service sector and inland industrial bases. With few other policy paths available to hedge against social disruption, Beijing turned to expansive monetary and fiscal stimulus to soften the unemployment picture, but that strategy exacted a high price. Debt soared, financial and real estate bubbles swelled, and local governments, swimming in red
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On GeopoliticsApr 25, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
A telecommunications antenna tower stands tall against a blank sky.
The Age of Splinternet: The Inevitable Fracturing of the Internet
In 2001, a young Jeff Bezos -- whose Amazon had yet to turn a quarterly profit -- said in an interview, "I very much believe the internet is indeed all it is cracked up to be." Now, 18 years later, the emphasis should be placed on how "cracked up" the Internet could become. The concept of a "splinternet" or the "balkanization of the Internet" -- in which the global internet would be carved up into smaller internets due to rules and regulations -- has existed for years. But we're now barreling toward a point where concept will become reality.
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AssessmentsJan 2, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
Data Privacy and AI Ethics Stepped to the Fore in 2018
Data privacy took center stage in 2018. The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation went into effect, numerous Silicon Valley executives testified before Congress following Facebook's fall from grace and the tech race between China and the United States kicked into full gear. As artificial intelligence and the data sets that ground it become more and more ubiquitous, countries and regions will work to define standards and ethics surrounding not only personal data privacy but other uses of data and artificial intelligence as well.
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AssessmentsSep 14, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
A container ship is docked at the Mexican port of Lazaro Cardenas in Michoacan state on April 4, 2017.
Can Blockchain Technology Bring Smooth Seas to Global Shipping?
There are a handful of technologies that, if widely adopted, have the potential to revolutionize how the world works. Distributed ledger technology is one such invention, and shipping is an industry that would obviously benefit from adopting blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies. Given shipping's struggles and its vulnerability to geopolitical risk, creating a transparent, distributed ledger that would remove middlemen and increase efficiencies could help the industry evolve and improve economically. To reap the benefits, however, the constraints of widespread adoption must be overcome. This challenge highlights a broader struggle to influence global standards across many emerging technologies, a struggle that often pits the United States (more broadly the West) against China. The use of blockchain in global shipping is no different.
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AssessmentsAug 22, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Tencent founder and CEO Huateng "Pony" Ma (left) and Alibaba co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma have more than just a name in common: The two entrepreneurs are archrivals in China's increasingly competitive tech sector, and both have steadily expanded their companies' products and services to maintain an edge.
Alibaba and Tencent: Disrupting China, Dozens of Industries at a Time
Alibaba and Tencent are archrivals in China's burgeoning tech sector. Having carved up the consumer internet sector -- including social media, e-commerce, streaming media and mobile payments -- the two tech juggernauts are increasingly expanding beyond their core operations. And in every vertical they enter they wind up in fierce competition, creating a dichotomy in the Chinese market that sometimes forces domestic and foreign firms to choose between them when launching a new product or service. The rise of the two companies has been a blessing and a curse for China. While the investment and innovation they offer have helped the economy, the sway Alibaba and Tencent now hold over China's people and economy is putting the government ill at ease. But as much as it can't afford to cede authority to these companies, it can neither afford to rein them in too tightly.
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On GeopoliticsAug 2, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
The Chinese and U.S. flags are seen during a promotional event in Beijing on June 30, 2017.
AI and the Return of Great Power Competition
For better or worse, the advancement and diffusion of artificial intelligence technology will come to define this century. Whether that statement should fill your soul with terror or delight remains a matter of intense debate. Techno-idealists and doomsdayers will paint their respective utopian and dystopian visions of machine-kind, making the leap from what we know now as "narrow AI" to "general AI" to surpass human cognition within our lifetime. On the opposite end of the spectrum, yawning skeptics will point to Siri's slow intellect and Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger's human instinct to wave off AI chatter as a heap of hype not worth losing sleep over. The fact is that the development of AI – a catch-all term that encompasses neural networks and machine learning and deep learning technologies – has the potential to fundamentally transform civilian and military life in the coming decades. Regardless of whether you're a businessman pondering
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AssessmentsJul 18, 2018 | 19:48 GMT
In this August 2017 photo, a man walks past an ad in Hong Kong's international airport for the social media platform WeChat, which is owned by China's Tencent.
Chinese Internet Companies Sharpen Their Competition at Home to Better Compete Abroad
Chinese e-commerce startup Pinduoduo is seeking between $16 and $19 per share in its upcoming initial public offering on the Nasdaq stock market, according to its latest U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing on July 16. At the upper end of that range, Pinduoduo would gather $1.63 billion in funding from the IPO and would see a valuation at about $24 billion. Pinduoduo is one of China's rising e-commerce companies, and major stakeholder Tencent hopes it can leverage it in its competition against rival Alibaba.
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