Techwar between China and the USA: 6 G, D 10 and leapfrogging

Techwar between China and the USA: 6 G, D 10 and leapfrogging

The Trump-USA tries everything from trade war to pressure on allies or other countries to prevent China from becoming a high tech power as China plans it with its China Made 2025 plan. As China is leading in 5 G technology which will define digitalization like quantum computers, AI or blockchain technology, the US boycott for Trump has a high symbolic and strategic value. However Parag Khanna in his book „The future is Asian“ claims that the USA won´t be able to boycott the rise of China as a high-tech power as CHina already imports most of its semiconductors and high-tech elements from the rest of Asia and not the USA. Beyond that China is also pushing its national high-tech champions and is very self-confident that it is able to challenge the innovations of Silicon Valley. While most Europeans still speak of 5 G technology, in China and the USA there is already talk about 6 G technology. As China seems to have passed the USA in 5 G technology, scientists in the USA hope now to leapfrog to 6 G technology and thereby bypass the Chinese. However the Global Times claims that even these US plans are doomed to fail as China itself is already to start 6 G research:

US ‘unlikely’ to leapfrog in 6G race

By Chu Daye and Ma Jingjing Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/31 19:43:40 4

Huawei confirms early-stage investment in futuristic technology

A US leapfrog from 5G to 6G, the futuristic telecommunication technologies, to deny China’s lead in 5G is probably just wishful thinking, Chinese industry experts said on Sunday, after a top executive from Huawei Technologies confirmed the company’s early-stage investment in 6G by pointing to the use of millimeter waves.

Discussions of 6G, and American companies‘ role in it, have been on the rise in the US, after US President Donald Trump’s tweet on 6G in February 2019. There is an implicit wish that the US, though slow in the 5G race, could take a lead in 6G development. 

However, Chinese experts said reality may unfold differently. Also, 6G is believed to yield a stronger performance than 5G in terms of bandwidth, latency and connections.

Huawei said it has started research on 6G, and relevant applications are expected to emerge around 2030.

„With the judgment that 6G will use millimeter waves, Huawei is now at the stage of exploring use scenarios and technologies,“ Yang Tao, vice president of Huawei’s China carrier business unit, said in a recent interview with domestic news site

Yang’s comments come as a number of other Chinese telecommunication companies have revealed their 6G research and development, while US industry circles have called for boosting competition in the field.

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun recently said that his company is making 6G research plans and would conduct research on 6G devices, though Xiaomi is not likely to expand into making commercial 6G equipment.

On May 17, domestic telecom equipment manufacturer ZTE agreed with major carrier China Unicom to jointly review 6G prospects and technology trends, and carry out research on key technology and cooperation on standards.

Ma Jihua, a veteran industry analyst, told the Global Times on Sunday that the repeated attacks by the US on Huawei are clear signs that China could not afford to lose its race in 6G.

„The generational progress of telecommunication technologies is based on advancement of technologies, application of technologies and scales of application,“ Ma said. „Given the concept that 6G will morph out of 5G, it would be practically impossible for the US to leapfrog China in 6G.“

„The only scenario under which China is superseded by another country is that the technology roadmap advocated by its manufacturers, operators, service providers and researchers is marginalized and has no market,“ Ma said. „This is not likely to happen with the existing Chinese lead in the field.“

China’s 5G subscribers stood at 50 million as of March, with 198,000 5G base stations rolled out, making the country the world’s largest 5G market, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

The US‘ repeated crackdowns on Huawei also hold important lessons — that China cannot afford to lose the 6G race, which is why companies are simultaneously researching 6G while rolling out 5G, experts said.  

Xiang Ligang, a veteran industry analyst, gave a roadmap of 6G development in China. There will be visions of 6G by 2023, technological standards will be set by 2026, the launch of relevant technology will take place by 2028 and preliminary commercial use of the network will begin by 2030.

Huawei said that 6G will be mainly used in sectors including the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles and smart factories.

Xiang told the Global Times on Sunday that the US crackdown on Huawei will not delay the company’s research and development into the futuristic 6G technology.

„Huawei’s researchers are collecting peers‘ information, such as what are the shortcomings of 5G networks, what consumers can do with 6G, and what 5G technologies can be adopted in the R&D process of 6G technology,“ Xiang said.

China launched a concept study of potential 6G technologies in 2018, with R&D planned to start in 2020, according to the MIIT“

Western efforts to build a D-10-anti-Huawei pool for 5 G technology are also critizised by China:

D10′ 5G club an outdated idea with Cold War mind-set

By Yu Ning Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/31 22:05:08

It was less than six months ago that the Boris Johnson government granted Chinese tech company Huawei a limited role in the country’s 5G networks, but recently it’s widely believed that the UK is signaling an about-face.

Shortly after news broke that the UK government was drawing up plans to force a full phase-out of Huawei from Britain’s 5G networks by 2023, it was reported Friday that London was proposing a „D10“ club of democratic partners that includes the G7 nations, Australia, South Korea and India to reduce dependence on Huawei 5G technology.

The UK’s seemingly untenable position on Huawei is not completely unexpected. For one thing, the US has been pressuring Britain to reconsider its decision of including Huawei as one of the country’s 5G network suppliers. For another, there has been a loud group of China-skeptic MPs urging the UK government to scrap the decision on Huawei citing the excuse that it could compromise national security.

The D10 proposal hopes to form an alliance of 10 democracies to create an alternative pool of 5G equipment and technologies to Huawei. It is another sign that UK decision-making still bows to US pressure. By rallying 10 like-minded countries against China, the plan is largely a Cold War-style design. But today’s world can’t be dominated by ideology as it was during the Cold War era.

For many of the D10 countries including South Korea, Germany and the UK itself, their telecom operators have deep cooperation with Huawei. If the company is excluded from their 5G rollout, their 5G development will be delayed, crippling their national competitiveness on the international stage. Therefore, it’s hard to say whether the D10 club will be easily formed. Even if it comes into being, there will be many uncertainties about whether it can function effectively.“

China also doesn´t like the idea of a new EU „robust China strategy“ and issues some sort of warning:

What to be wary of in robust EU strategy toward China?

By Zhang Bei Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/31 21:48:41

In the recent Annual German Ambassadors‘ Conference, EU High Representative Josep Borrell made a speech addressed to his German host that mainly conveyed high expectations for Germany after it taking the positions of both presidencies of the UN Security Council and the Council of the EU later this year. Borrell offered European observations for China-Europe relations in the post-pandemic era. In particular, he called for a „robust new strategy“ toward China. 

In fact, Borrell’s remark is just one among a litany of reflections in Europe on China during the process of a pandemic. Some comments are far more sensational. Cases in point include the prediction that there will be a „paradigm shift“ or a „complete rethink“ of Europe’s policy toward China after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

However, when we look into what Borrell really implies in this „new robust strategy,“ we see elements that have been emphasized repeatedly in the last couple of years by the European side. 

First, Europe makes decisions based on its own values and interests. Second, Europe should not be turned into an instrument of the China-US rivalry. Third, Europe speaks and acts as one on the global stage. 

Actually, this thinking is a more or less a consensus on how Europe should cope in a perceived, strange world. In Europe’s eyes, the old world is disappearing rapidly and the new world is not friendly either. The global leader, Europe’s long-time friend and ally, is not only unhelpful, but sometimes even destructive, while the bloc is taking its stable economic partner, which has lucrative market, as a competitor. These two are engaged in a rivalry where the pressure, mainly from the US, for Europe to take sides is mounting. 

Informed by this perception, Europe on a whole has made quite a lot of adjustments. During the past couple of years, it has steadily built on the concept of a „sovereign“ Europe for security, economics and industrial terms. 

In relation to Europe’s policy toward China, it is clear the bloc has become much more „robust“ already and pushing for more „reciprocity.“ The creation of EU’s new instruments to screen investments and enforce antitrust measures is also example of that. Just also remember that both the European Industrial strategy and digital strategy have competition with China in mind. 

Europe’s changing perception and policy adaptation toward China is not unnatural as the global order shifts – and as great changes unseen for more than a hundred years compel state actors to cope and manage like never before. 

China, seeing Europe as a partner, is working to solve problems and address Europe’s concerns in economic cooperation. We aim for more coordination with Europe on global issues which so the two sides are increasingly on the same page. This year is supposed to be a big year for China-Europe relations, with three summits and an on-going bilateral investment treaty negotiation. China will make use of these opportunities to work with Europe and strive for a stable and promising future. 

However, there are still alarming signs in the aforementioned litany of predictions in Europe on China-Europe relations in the post-pandemic era. People who are committed to defending China-Europe partnership should stay wary.

First, a perceived „over dependence“ on China during the pandemic, such as important medicines and personal protective equipment, has made popular talk of „diversification of some value chains.“ In a world where the threat of decoupling of the biggest two economies is real, is Europe confident that this „diversification“ is not a form of „disengagement“ or „managed disengagement?“

Second, Europe is clearly seeking more self-protection with new policy innovations, such as investment screening. But how can Europe make sure protection does not lead to protectionism? This sort of tactic avowedly rejects the sort of economic recovery that is needed now. 

Third, Europe seems to stress more „value“ dimensions of its policy toward China. Despite the fact that China respects Europe’s commitments to its own value system, a so-called value-based policy is turning into interference into China’s own affairs. This posture will greatly damage the trust China and Europe have built up together for years. 

The author is assistant research fellow at the Department for European Studies, China Institute of International Studies.

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