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China Threatens to Blacklist Foreign Firms Post Huawei Ban

China had earlier warned the US of various “countermeasures” and retaliation after negotiations between the two sides to resolve the trade war broke down

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Attendees pass by a Huawei booth during the 2019 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 9, 2019. VOA

China announced on Friday that it is preparing a blacklist for foreign companies which harm the interests of Chinese firms as trade tensions with the US continue to escalate.

The announcement of the blacklist comes just two weeks after the US included Chinese tech giant Huawei – accused by Washington of being a national security threat – in a list of companies and individuals denied access to American technology.

The Chinese government is working to establish an “unreliable entity list” which would include foreign companies, individuals and organizations, according to a statement from Chinese Commerce Ministry.

The Ministry unveiled the initiative on Friday, without specifying the measures to be taken against the blacklisted companies, which it said would be announced in the near future.

Commerce Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng said the list would include entities or individuals which do not comply with market regulations, violate the spirit of contracts, block Chinese firms or use discriminatory measures against them for non-commercial purposes — acts that “seriously harm Chinese firms’ rights and legitimate interests”.

Without directly referring to the Huawei ban, Gao justified the Chinese list by saying “some foreign entities” were violating market norms, imposing blockades and other discriminatory measures against Chinese companies, Efe news reported.

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A staff member stands in front of a Huawei shop in Beijing, China, March 7, 2019. VOA

He said such measures posed a threat to Chinese interests and national security and jeopardized industrial chains and supply at a global level, causing a negative impact on the global economy and undermining the interests of relevant companies and consumers.

The spokesperson said China was “safeguarding” international economic and trade norms as well as the multilateral trading system with this move while also opposing “unilateralism and trade protectionism,” terms which Beijing has repeatedly used in its rhetoric against the tariff war initiated by US President Donald Trump.

China had earlier warned the US of various “countermeasures” and retaliation after negotiations between the two sides to resolve the trade war broke down.

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Although the Chinese government responded to fresh US tariffs by hiking its own tariffs on imports from the US, its response to the ban on Huawei until now had been limited to formal complaints over the “abuse” of national security measures and “unilateral trade sanctions”.

Washington hardly paid any heed to Chinese grievances and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday warned European countries that the US would change its attitude towards sharing information with them unless they took measures against Huawei. (IANS)

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Facebook’s Push to Become China’s WeChat May Kill it

As people become increasingly aware of social media’s harm, social media will lose its lustre

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FILE - The Facebook logo is seen on a shop window in Malaga, Spain, June 4, 2018. (VOA)

Facebook which accounts for 75 per cent of global ad spend that is likely to hit $110 billion by 2020 is nowhere near an immediate demise and government regulations would only strengthen the social networking giant in the short term, a new Forrester research has forecast.

However, Facebook’s push to become China’s WeChat — more than a messaging app and is full of capabilities to make life easier for its one billion users — would be its undoing.

Facebook‘s no-good-very-bad 2018 may have meant an overworked PR team but the social media behemoth is doing just fine.

It continues to report steady user and revenue growth: a 9 per cent year over year increase in users in Q4 2018 and a 30 per cent increase in revenue in the same time-frame.

“The three parties that could impact Facebook the most — users, brands and regulators — will move too slowly for it to feel any instant impact,” said Jessica Liu, Senior Analyst, Forrester.

The coming years won’t be easier, but the social media behemoth won’t suddenly collapse either, as many predict.

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FILE – The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York’s Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

“But while Facebook’s short-term outlook might be fine, its long-term outlook is bleak,” Liu added

Despite constant negative news last year, Facebook continued to report strong quarter-

over-quarter user and revenue growth. Brands that mishandle their own users’ data and fail to inform them typically falter.

While these users and advertisers could affect change at the social media giant immediately, they won’t, thus allowing it to continue to defy the odds.

“Enacting and enforcing regulation takes so long that Facebook will be able to shore up its assets and unique advantages in the short term and eliminate any vulnerabilities before serious user, advertiser, or regulatory changes materialize,” Liu emphasised.

The social networking giant with over two billion users globally, is facing regulatory challenges as the Cambridge Analytica scandal has exposed its lapses of data privacy and security.

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FILE – A man poses for a photo in front of a computer showing Facebook ad preferences in San Francisco, California, March 26, 2018. VOA

The downfall for Facebook, said Liu, would come with its desire to build an all-inclusive social media experience, as its CEO mark Zuckerberg is planning to merge all apps like Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram into one.

“Facebook’s hope to recreate WeChat, China’s largest messaging app turned all-in-one portal

to the Internet, presents long-term challenges,” Liu added.

WeChat primarily operates in a single country’s political and regulatory environment.

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“Facebook will need to tack on products and services to fulfill its one-app vision while global regulators threaten antitrust. It will also grapple with protecting user privacy globally while appeasing advertiser appetite for hypertargeting,” Liu noted.

As people become increasingly aware of social media’s harm, social media will lose its lustre.

“History has taught us that existing apps max out and then decline as users tire of the services or the company (like AOL, MySpace, Friendster). The Facebook app is already experiencing this; Instagram and WhatsApp will follow in a natural peak and then eventually decelerate, too,” Liu commented. (IANS)