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

Lazada’s 11.11 concludes with record-breaking sales

E-commerce is growing in the Philippines

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Lazada just had a blast with its 11.11 sale. This year’s sale sets new records for the online store company, with over 11 million deals from local and international brands sold to customers in the Philippines.

Lazada tallied one million sold items within the first hour of the 11.11 sale. One million users also shopped for various items on the website. By the end of the sale event, Lazada shoppers spent a total of 205 million minutes shopping on Lazada. That’s equivalent to watching a marathon of harry Potter for 187,000 times. Filipinos also proved to be shopping-savvy, collecting up to PhP 170 million worth of vouchers during the sale. One person’s shopping cart even amounted to a whopping PhP 1.2 million.

Bigger league of millionaire sellers

Dealers and sellers also set a record for increasing the membership of Lazada’s millionaire-seller league. The league, where sellers past a million peso sale mark earn membership, gained 1,140 new sellers because of the 11.11 sale.

Top brands in the 11.11 sale include Xiaomi for mobile category; CooCaa for home appliance; Pampers for mother’s care; Hydro Flask for general merchandise; Maybelline for health and beauty; and American Tourister for fashion.

This year’s 11.11 sale proves that e-commerce is booming the country. Globally, e-commerce is growing steadily, with China’s Singles’ Day event this year crossing the US$ 38 billion mark for total sales.

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Enterprise

Huawei might get a third extension in the US

Despite US promises to stop extensions

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When will Trump’s obsession with Huawei end? For more than two years, the US government has wandered into an on-and-off relationship with Chinese companies, especially Huawei and ZTE. Currently, the Chinese corporate world is suffering a massive ban on American soil.

Huawei, the ban’s main target, operates purely through a temporary extension granted by the US government. Unfortunately, the license runs out in a few days on November 18, US time. Even then, the current one is already the second extension since May’s definitive ban. In fact, the government already talked about ceasing the extensions altogether.

However, if their previous “promises” are anything to go by, even this particular promise was made on shaky ground. First reported by Politico, the government is expected to extend Huawei’s extension a third time. Unlike the previous 90-day extensions, however, the upcoming one will extend the company’s license by six months.

Though surprising, a third extension likely stems from the government’s recent headway with a more permanent deal. As such, the Trump administration will gain much more by keeping Huawei as a bargaining chip during the deal’s negotiations.

Still, this is getting tedious. For months, both the US and China have been in a relentless tug-of-war for Huawei’s right to operate. However, despite all the news, the issue hasn’t seen a definitive conclusion. Huawei is still in the same mire that it’s been in since May. Who knows when it will end?

SEE ALSO: Taiwan suspends sale of three Huawei phones

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Enterprise

Apple: Students with Chromebooks ‘are not going to succeed’

Wants you to buy the MacBook Pro instead

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Are you buying the new MacBook Pro? Apple’s new 16-inch notebook is a powerful device built for heavy-duty use. If you’re a student today, a new MacBook is surely an asset, especially if you do heavy design work. In fact, Apple itself is advertising the device as the best option for academic life.

In a recent interview with Cnet, Apple’s marketing head Phil Schiller waxed poetic about the company’s continued dominance in academic institutions and creative industries. “College students’ [use] is dominated by Macs,” Schiller said. “In the majority of creative fields — writers, video editors, music creators and programmers — I think that’s an area that’s super strong.”

In fact, a quick trip to the nearest private college confirms this fact. Macs are super popular. “We just have great customers who love the Mac,” Schiller said.

Of course, the computing world isn’t populated by just Apple. Windows is still a capable alternative for a huge chunk of the world. Apple isn’t happy with Windows’ continued presence.

“The PC world is a world of sameness,” said Schiller. “You have commodity hardware [and] a generic operating system that has to work on a lot of stuff, so it doesn’t work great on any one thing.”

True enough, Apple’s devices are catered more for creative purposes. However, Schiller’s rant goes further. The marketing boss goes off against Google’s Chromebooks, lambasting them as the poorest option for students.

“You need to have these cutting-edge learning tools to help kids really achieve their best results,” Schiller said. “Yet Chromebooks don’t do that. Chromebooks have gotten to the classroom because, frankly, they’re cheap testing tools for required testing. If all you want to do is test kids, well, maybe a cheap notebook will do that. But they’re not going to succeed.”

Schiller’s follow-up tweet doesn’t do much to save face. “We discussed giving kids and teachers the content, curriculum and tools they need to learn, explore and grow. Not just to take a test,” he tweeted. Like the original interview, the tweet touts Apple’s superiority in bringing out success, despite their astronomical prices. To Apple, owning a MacBook is a requirement to be successful.

Schiller’s opinion is a strong statement against Google’s popular notebook. The Chromebook is still a massively affordable and massively flexible option for markets of all sizes. Despite the division losing strength, Schiller’s statement goes against all PCs, as well.

SEE ALSO: Apple sets another record this year

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