News About Huawei circa Early-2021

The Huawei Mate 40 Pro was launched late last year and truth to be told, the launch was very muted as compared to yesteryears. Cannot blame Huawei for it because the Chinese firm has suffered greatly suffered from the clampdown enforced by the Trump administration a year ago and the Mate 30 series was the first to feel the pinch.

Things have developed since then and I have written a piece for Techgoondu.com and you can read it here.

I definitely have no issues hardware wise with Huawei. I count it as my go-to phone when I need to do good quality smartphone shots in a pinch and has graduated to shooting video for clients with it to for social media posts and websites. My Mate 30 Pro is so good I don’t miss using the P40 as much.

But it is still an uphill battle for those who have relied on Google Mobile Services or GMS. A lot of apps uses parts of the GMS, like Grab and Google Maps, to create a service for the users. For some time, Singaporeans have no way to use TraceTogether with their Huawei phones until recently. That shows Huawei is actively trying to get important apps into the HMS app stores which is a good sign. Is the adoption rate high enough to make people feel less anxiety about losing GMS? That question can only be answered by each individual.

While Huawei’s predicament is seen as something quite unfair to the Chinese firm, the ill-will towards the country it comes from and on the firm, in particular, is not built overnight. The Chinese as a whole is seen as a place with no regards to copyright ownership infringement and Huawei themselves are also involved in questionable activities in the past including the famous Cisco switches copying.

I myself have seen magnetic charging cables being sold on Kickstarter only to see the same thing being sold on Chinese E-Commerce websites. Herein lies the problem of Chinese being the factory of the world and all the inventors and creators have no choice but to use them only for their designs to be misused. It also doesn’t help when legit Chinese manufacturers gave the impression that they used foreign actors to hawk their stuff online too leading one to think the actors are the real inventors.

All in despite the good that the Chinese have done in the past decade in leading innovations in the previous decade, the bad image they have amassed themselves does not help. Looking at how they have built an island in the middle of South China seas and ignore International Conventions and treated the WHO investigators badly who went to Wuhan to understand the COVID situation just does not create a better image overseas. The question of how Hong Kong was treated is also a point of contention.

With such a baggage, Huawei is basically put in a difficult position because the International views about China is not helping the company. And it was proven right when other Chinese firms such as Hikvision and DJI were also included in the entity list.

It is not far to conclude that it is not just aiming at Chinese companies but China as a whole and the Chinese communist government in particular. So anything the Chinese companies are doing to circumvent the restrictions may be working in the short term but long term prospects are still at best unknown. I look at the formation of Honor Devices with interest, hoping for the best and yet guarded when it comes to its long term prospects. Would the US and Europe see the linkage between Huawei and Honor and decided they are equally ‘dangerous’?

Like it or not trade issues will always have the undercurrent of geopolitical considerations being pegged to it. While the Chinese government can do whatever it wants, the Western powers and other democratic entities will make sure it cannot have the cake and eat it with impunity (at least in their eyes). That includes access to technologies and know-how.

It is also because of their fear Huawei, ZTE and other companies have the laser focus to be at the fore-front of 5G connection technologies and they have succeeded. Huawei, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and scores of Chinese phones are also making a mark in the overseas market.

How long this Trump strategy can work remains to be seen. However, I do not see it working in the next decade when the US lost its cutting edge knowledge if the Chinese consortium of 89 companies banded together to create their own semiconductor sector. While chips from Mediatek and Samsung Exynos are still not seen as good as the equivalent Qualcomm Snapdragons, looking at how the Chinese have leapfrogged in terms of 5G technology, to replicate the same success in silicon is not far-fetched either.

By then the Western world will lose its bargaining power if they continue to decouple. The only way forward is to integrate everyone to the point the relationship is so important, that it is hard to break. Just like the banks. They are too big to fail. As of now, the Chinese are not losing much at all. I actually felt that the Americans has pulled the trigger too early.

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