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It does not help China’s cause by the student (and now general populace) riots in Hong Kong fearing the Chinese communist regime. It does not help that the Republic of China (Taiwan) lives under the threat that China’s military might forcibly bring it back into the communist fold.

Sorry, media is swinging public opinion that China is not ‘cool’ anymore. Except to the Chinese that live in a state-controlled, heavily censored environment that thinks what is happening in Hong Kong is the result of ‘foreign white-eye interference’.

As I understand it down in Australia, there are major issue too

Chinese links to Labor party
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  • Alleged links between the Chinese Communist Party and Labor governments
  • Infiltration of Chinese doctrine in the school and university systems
  • Universities warning that if Chinese student enrolments fall, the Australian University system is unviable
  • Australia’s alliance with the US means that Australia’s relations with China are part of the health of the US-China relationship
  • Participation in Pacific Islands affairs and building facilities and bases there
  • Persecution and repression of the Christian, Tibetan Buddhist, Uyghur Muslim, and Falun Gong religious groups.
  • China regards any pressure over political and economic reform, or issues such as Taiwan, Hong Kong or Tibet as incursions into ‘Chinese sovereignty’. In other words, stay out of our affairs.
  • Major private property ownership making it hard for Aussies to buy homes (Chinese now own 11% of Aussie homes)
  • Ditto for commercial property where entire suburban centres are being bought up
  • Ownership of many strategic resource utilities (ports, infrastructure and even water in the controversial Murry-Darling Basis)
  • Ownership of agricultural production (9.1 million hectares or around 15%)
  • Worse still it has just taken over Aussie icon R.M. Williams – what next Akubra! No, well Dairy Farmers Big M/Dare/A2, Bellamy’s infant formula and infant formula catcher Huggies just sailed east!
  • And the left (politics and media) fighting the right over its new policy of not tolerating CCP (Chinese Communist Party) interference in Australia. And it is not a good look for the left.

Although the good news is that Australia kicked out a Chinese billionaire and Chinese investment is now slowing in favour of Europe and South-East Asia.

Or as KPMG puts it, “Chinese investors now have an increasing concern around transparency of regulations, high costs and their continued perception of being unwelcome as reflected by negative Australian media coverage.”

Australian Attitude to China - UQ

And the majority Coalition Government has started to flex its muscles over infrastructure ownership and control including telecommunications, electricity, gas, water and ports. That list soon could be expanded to military supply, transport, roads, mining, agriculture, horticulture and much more – as President Trump is promising as well.

(Note I do not live in Oz – as much as I wish I could – so forgive me for a rapid summary of major Oz newspaper headlines this year).

The Tech War is not just about cybersecurity.

On the surface, it is about the fear that Chinese made consumer electronics (a.k.a. Huawei) could be feeding personal data the CCP.

It is fundamentally about the potential to tip the balance of world economic power from the USA (and its allies the West) to China (the East).

We all know what the US ‘Entities list’ has done for Huawei’s business here – killed it. Well, whether Huawei was spying or not for China is now immaterial. Throw enough mud and some sticks.

It is Huawei’s response that makes you wonder if it did not want a very public bloody nose to enable it to pursue a different path to other global smartphone makers.

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei to Chinese President Xi Jinping
Huawei has long prepared for an American assault – Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei to Chinese President Xi Jinping

Huawei’s CEO Ren Zhengfei said that the company can survive without the United States and has dismissed Washington’s campaign against it as ineffective. “We can survive very well without the U.S. The China-U.S. trade talks are not something I’m concerned with.”

It is now free of US technology constraints and with significant public sympathy (at least from the Asian bloc).

For example, as a stopgap measure, it will use free public domain Android (not Google Android or services – GadgetGuy article here). It has launched its own Browser, Voice Assistant and expanded AppGallery with 45,000+ apps including alternatives to all Google Apps (that buyers could not use in China anyway).

Next, we see it developing HarmonyOS to replace Android. Sure, it will not be ready for some time but will underpin all its Chinese devices. And it and Alibaba are collaborating to make AliOS (reported a HarmonyOS clone) the standard for China and its Eastern bloc.

Scratch any reliance on Google and offer the world’s largest smartphone market (and we venture every other eastern bloc country) as a non-US alternative.

This has the potential to kill a large portion of Google’s revenue and any hope of global standards for Android and iOS mobile phone operating systems.

Already Huawei has moved to Chinese suppliers (or invested in them) for LCD and OLED screens, China-made Xensation toughened glass (like Gorilla Glass) and pretty well every other component needed for a smartphone. There are big grey clouds over the Intellectual Property (IP) – whether it has been homegrown, reverse engineered or stolen. But mark my words – such IP does not happen overnight as it appears to have. That potentially violates every tenet of copyright and honourable trading.

Then there is the fact that Huawei can no longer use ARM-based technology. ARM powers 100% of the world’s smartphones. Huawei can use ARM for it’s recent Kirin 990 (Mate 30/Pro), and it can regurgitate older ARM chips, but pretty soon it must ‘clean-room’ develop an alternative architecture. That is a huge task but where better to try than on Chinese guinea-pigs.

Analysts say that it would be almost impossible to stop Huawei using ‘architecture extensions’ – add-ons that it develops for currently licensed ARM chips while it develops core logic to run HarmonyOS and AliOS.