Ask your parents what Americans thought of Russia when they were growing up. Chances are you’ll hear horrible stories about communism, nuclear weapons, and espionage. After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, America stopped being scared of Mother Russia. The new enemy became China. It’s easy to see why. China makes a lot of stuff, they’re communist, and they have absolutely no respect for intellectual property. The thing is, China isn’t a scary monster. It’s actually a very innovative country that’s rapidly growing and is in the process of transitioning from a rural society where everyone is a farmer, into a place that’s much more urban. The second largest PC maker, Lenovo, is Chinese. The second largest maker of telecommunications equipment, Huawei, is Chinese. ZTE, another Chinese company, is among one of the top five mobile phone makers.
None of this matters though, because the people in power, better known as the government, simply don’t trust the Chinese. Later today, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee will issue a report urging American businesses to stop dealing with Huawei and ZTE. Why? Because they’re supposedly building back doors into their products that will let the Chinese government spy on millions of Americans.
We really can’t make this stuff up.
ZTE says they have no idea what America is thinking. Huawei says the rumors being spread about them are “baseless”. In fact, Huawei is thinking about becoming a publicly listed company just so America gets off their back. Worst case scenario, these two companies get shut out of a market that serves roughly 350 million people. That means no more cheap infrastructure equipment, and potentially no more budget Android smartphones. Best case scenario, America grows up, stops being paranoid, and learns to do business with the Chinese.
That’s highly unlikely though.