Enterprise

Trade war: How the US played its trump card wrong

The dragon is no longer sleeping

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The US and China are embroiled in a trade war and the last few months have witnessed unprecedented escalation from both sides. Tensions between the two countries are ongoing and virtually two power blocs have been created. The conflict has also changed everyone’s outlook on technology forever.

US President Donald Trump banned American companies from working with Huawei, one of China’s largest technology companies. This meant Huawei could no longer use American technology, including Android. Thankfully, an interim resolution lets Huawei transact with American counterparts right now.

However, this was a blaring reminder for China. It depends too much on the US for technology and this needs to end. For two power blocs, interdependence isn’t an option. And the US played its trump card at the wrong time, in a wrong way.

Trade war affecting free flow of tech

Technology has been freely flowing since the inception of the Internet. Everyone has been connected to a neutral medium of communication except for a few countries. The flow of information has been so fast, yet transparent. Adding to this, open-source has been a boon for everyone since technology is never restricted and everyone gets a chance to experience it.

Even if a service or product is proprietary, companies have been quick to monetize it via licensing. There are apps that are built in one country and used by citizens of another country that’s thousands of miles away. In a nutshell, we’ve always imagined modern or digital technology to be easily transferable.

But, the US proved it can stop this flow of sanctions or bans, only to reverse the decision. We can call this saber-rattling. They wanted to serve a warning and the message has been received. However, China also realized one thing, it needs to become truly independent.

China’s alternatives

The Chinese internet is different from the rest of the world’s internet. It’s guarded by a nation-wide firewall and heavily censored by the state. A few services like Google and Facebook aren’t available. This has already made way for homegrown alternatives like Baidu, Weibo, and WeChat.

Now, Huawei is gearing up for the worst. It accelerated work on its own operating system, HarmonyOS. It’s expected to roll-out slowly in the coming quarters. In a bid to challenge Google Maps, they’re also planning to unveil a mapping service known as Map Kit.

Every Chinese company would be scrambling to create a backup plan, preparing for the worst. In the short term, they’ll suffer due to sudden shortcomings. But in the longer run, the US loses its leverage.

The ban is bad for progress

The US government’s ban on Huawei is ill-timed. The company is a leader in 5G deployment due to its patents and manufacturing ability. The world needs Huawei to effectively deploy the next standard of wireless communication. If the US wants its allies to avoid Huawei, alternatives need to be available, and that’s not the case.

Even US companies aren’t very fond of getting dragged in the trade war. Trump agreed that tariffs on China will hamper Apple’s ability to compete with Samsung. Not to forget all the revenue US companies lose after sanctions are applied or the Chinese develop their own alternative.

Other countries also have only two options — get in line with the US or develop its own cushion. A territorial divide has also prompted countries like India to lobby for data localization. In case relations turn sour tomorrow, how much control do you want to give others?

These questions and hypothetical scenarios are often considered to be an exaggeration. And I don’t blame them. But the US could’ve used this trump card later, actually benefiting from it.

Enterprise

Xiaomi overtakes Apple as third-best smartphone seller

Improves over last year’s performance

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Since Huawei’s struggles throughout the past year, the rise of other Chinese companies became inevitable. Now, we finally have proof. Fresh from a successful run, Xiaomi has overtaken Apple as the third-best smartphone seller during the third quarter of 2020.

As estimated by Gartner, Xiaomi bagged 44.4 million smartphone sales in the previous quarter. For reference, the Chinese company sold only 32.9 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2019, marking a huge increase from last year’s performance.

As a result, Xiaomi moved from fourth place to third place in Garter’s rankings. The company edged out Apple, who sold only 40.6 million smartphones in the same period. While Apple holds on to 11.1 percent market share, Xiaomi will now enjoy 12.1 percent of the total market.

Besides Xiaomi, Huawei was another big mover — at least in terms of units sold. Compared to an impressive 65.8 million smartphones sold in the third quarter of 2019, the struggling company fell to only 51.8 million units sold. Albeit still impressive, Huawei is now farther away from the top spot occupied by Samsung’s 80.8 million smartphones sold.

Speaking of which, the South Korean company moved almost 2 million more units from the previous year. Now, Samsung holds on to 22.0 percent of the market share.

In other news, OPPO, another Chinese rival to Huawei, slightly performed less this year: selling 29.9 million smartphones (compared to 30.6 million units last year) for the fifth spot below Apple.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi launches 5000mAh ZMI Power Bank, it’ll also warm your hands

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Enterprise

iPad and MacBook production to shift from China to Vietnam

Apple’s preparing for the worst

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Foxconn’s moving some iPad and MacBook production lines to Vietnam at Apple’s request. Apple intends to take a step back to protect its manufacturing might due to the ongoing trade hostilities between the US and China

According to a Reuters report, the new assembly lines in Vietnam will be operational in the first half of next year at Foxconn’s Bac Giang province. It’s not clear how much production is being moved, but the fact that a shift is already on the table means even the mightiest American company isn’t immune to the trade war.

“Apple requested the move,” a person with knowledge of the plan told Reuters. “It wants to diversify production following the trade war.”

Foxconn has announced a US$ 270 million investment to create a new subsidiary in Vietnam called FuKang Technology. Furthermore, the manufacturing vendor aims to make televisions in the plant for clients like Sony.

This will be the first time Apple has moved its iPad assembly line out of China. However, it’s also not surprising because the Cupertino giant started chalking redundancy plans months ago. Apple has announced a multi-billion dollar investment in India to expand its existing iPhone assembly line.

Trade War just isn’t pretty for anybody

While the trade war and ongoing hostilities between the US and China are yet to affect Apple directly, it intends to take no chance. It’s also considered a pragmatic reaction because many giants like Huawei, ZTE, and ByteDance have been caught in the middle, decimating their future ambitions and scope of expansion.

While American companies are yet to face the wrath directly, the deteriorating situation has prepared them to create back-up plans. Similarly, many other technology giants like Nintendo are also shifting their facilities to Vietnam in search of political stability and a business-friendly environment.

Read Also – Trade War: China’s loss is everyone’s gain

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Enterprise

Dyson to hire 400 engineers in the Philippines for its new software R&D lab

The company believes in the country’s young and great engineering talent pool.

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Technology company Dyson — the one behind those revolutionary hair styling tools and vacuums — is opening a new software lab in the Philippines. The company plans to hire 400 Filipino engineers with aims to develop embedded software for a new generation of intelligent machines.

“The Philippines is home to bright, young engineers who share Dyson’s ambition to develop technologies for the future,” Dyson Chief Operating Officer Scott Maguire said.

“Dyson has been growing in the Philippines for this reason and it is a nation that clearly celebrates both engineers and technology,” Maguire added, noting the existence of good technical universities in the country.

“We hire a lot of people straight from university. I came from university into Dyson,” admitted Maguire. “Our culture is very much about young, bright engineers filled with energy,” he added. “We’re confident that the talent pool is there.”

In 2016, Dyson opened its Philippines Advanced Manufacturing (PAM) facility in Laguna. The facility, which is responsible for producing the company’s Hyperdymium motor, spans ten thousand square meters and employs 600 people. This particular motor is at the heart of the company’s vacuums, the Supersonic Hairdryer, and the AirWrap.

The new software lab will be located in Alabang and is part of Dyson’s GBP 2.75 billion investment in future technology. The company is hoping to double its product portfolio by 2025. It’s also expected to accelerate the development of new Dyson machines that are often tasked with solving everyday problems intelligently.

It will also form part of Dyson’s global Research, Design and Development team, which spans, USA, UK, Shanghai, Singapore, and Malaysia. 

Dyson recognizes Filipino talent

The announcement of the new software lab comes at the heels of a Filipino being the first ever sustainability winner of the James Dyson Award (JDA).

Called the AuREUS system, it’s invented by Filipino electrical engineering student Carvey Ehren Maigue from Mapua University. AuREUS is a material derived from rotting fruits and vegertables and can be attached to a pre-existing structure or surface to harvest UV light. It then converts it to visible light to generate electricity in a way that traditional solar panels can’t. Carvey’s ingenuity impressed James Dyson himself and received a prize of PhP 1,900,000.

Beyond the Philippines

The major investment in R&D also brings interesting developments in two other countries.

In Singapore, Dyson is progressing plans to open its new global head office complex. Its R&D facilities will also be expanded to cover a growing number of fields including machine learning and robotics.

A new University research program is also set to be established to drive product development. Plans are also being made for a new advanced manufacturing hub in the country.

Meanwhile, in the UK, the company is delving deeper into robotics research and AI, investing in the Dyson UK Innovation Campuses both Malmesbury and Hullavington. Both campuses employ over 4,000 people and are expected to drive new research in fields of study including products for sustainable healthy indoor environments and well-being. 

Roles in the Philippines software lab will include embedded software engineers, automation test engineers, program managers, release train engineers, and more.

Interested? Candidates can now express their interest here or submit their application to [email protected].

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