Tuesday June 25, 2019
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U.S. Sues Chinese Tech Executive Over Business Dealings With Iran

Concerns about Huawei have been growing for some time.

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A woman walks past an advertisement for Huawei at a subway station in Hong Kong. VOA

A top Chinese technology executive faces U.S. charges related to business dealings with Iran, a Canadian prosecutor said Friday, after the executive’s arrest rocked financial markets around the globe.

In a packed courtroom in Vancouver, a Canadian prosecutor argued that Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of tech giant Huawei, should be denied bail pending possible extradition to the United States because she was a flight risk. She has spent most of the past week at a women’s detention facility in a suburb of Vancouver.

The prosecutor disclosed that Meng was wanted by the United States for allegedly deceiving financial institutions about the relationship between Huawei and another tech company, SkyCom, based in Hong Kong, that is alleged to have sold U.S.-manufactured technology to Iran, in violation of U.S. trade sanctions.

In the first glimpse of the case against Meng, prosecutors alleged during the five-hour hearing that she was not truthful to U.S. banks who had asked her about links between the two firms.

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The U.S. and Canadian governments have so far said little about the Meng case.

An attorney representing Meng, David Martin, told the court “there is no evidence” that SkyCom was a subsidiary of Huawei during the period in question, in 2013 and 2014.

The bail hearing is set to resume on Monday.

If extradited to the United States, Meng would face charges of conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions.

The arrest of Meng in Vancouver, at the request of the United States, surprised financial markets after Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed to a trade truce last weekend in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Stocks plummeted Thursday after news came out of Meng’s arrest, which followed months of already shaky markets affected by the U.S.-China trade war.

Trump sounded a note of optimism on Friday about the trade talks with China, tweeting that “China talks are going very well!”

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The prosecutor disclosed that Meng was wanted by the United States. (IANS)

The U.S. and Canadian governments have so far said little about the Meng case. But China has demanded her release, saying she violated no laws in Canada or the United States.

Meng is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, a former engineer in China’s People’s Liberation Army. Chinese state media have argued that the United States is abusing the law to hurt the company’s international reputation.

Also Read: Chinese Tech Giant Huawei Announces to Bring Wireless Charging in India Next Month

However, concerns about Huawei have been growing for some time. Since 2012, the U.S. government has raised alarm about suspicions that Huawei’s hardware may have a technical back door that could be used by the Chinese government to gather intelligence.

Huawei has denied that its products pose any security risk and says it is a private company. (VOA)

Next Story

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.

Also Read: South Korean Tech Giant Samsung Launches 2 New Tablets in India

“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)