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Friday, December 28, 2018

Year 2018 review: Huawei and the technology cold war, competition in spheres of influence

The Huawei stand is seen during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Yves Herman / Reuters
Newspaper headline: A true multinational - A Huawei Technologies Co logo sits on display inside an electronic goods store in Berlin on December 17. Photo: VCG
2018 was the year that started the U.S.-China tech cold war. 2019 might be the year that splinters the global technology system into distinct spheres of influence.  

Whatever you call it, the U.S.-China science and technology relationship is being violently remade. While a tightly linked technology system benefited the United States and China over the last two decades, there is now widespread concern on both sides of the Pacific that the economic and security risks outweigh the gains. President Xi Jinping has embraced and accelerated policies designed to increase the innovativeness of the Chinese economy and reduce dependence on foreign suppliers. The Trump administration has put Chinese technologies policies front and center as a danger to U.S. economic and national security. The eventual outcome of this contest may be two distinct technology systems, with other countries forced to choose if they are going to plug into American or Chinese technology platforms and standards.

Over the last year, the Trump administration has pressured Beijing to roll back Made in China 2025 and worked to prevent the flow of American technology to China. Congress passed the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, which expands the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’ ability to investigate foreign investment in “critical technologies”, and the Department of Commerce is expected to introduce new export controls on “emerging and foundational technologies.” In November 2018, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a China Initiative to identify priority Chinese trade theft cases and evaluate whether additional legislative and administrative authorities would be required to protect U.S. assets from foreign economic espionage. The Department of Justice indicted two alleged hackers from the Ministry of State Security in December 2018 for stealing secrets from the banking, finance, telecommunications, health care, energy, and automotive industries.

Huawei, the Chinese telecom manufacturer, sits at the center of this new cold war. 5G, the next generation of mobile communication technology, promises greater speed and capacity, and will enable the internet of things, automated vehicles, and other innovations. It will also introduce new cybersecurity vulnerabilities. While U.S. officials have never publicly provided evidence that Huawei equipment has backdoors or been tampered with, they warn that allowing the company to be involved in the build-out of 5G networks raises unmanageable security risks, and they have steadily increased pressure on the company at home and abroad. In January, after scrutiny from U.S. regulators, AT&T walked back from a deal to sell Huawei smartphones in the United States. The Federal Communications Commission proposed making it harder for smaller carriers to use the Universal Service Fund to pay for future purchases of telecom equipment from Huawei. In August, President Trump signed a bill that prohibited any carrier with any substantial amount of installed Chinese telecom equipment from federal government contracts.

Washington has pressured its allies not to use Huawei. In August, Australia effectively banned Huawei from supplying equipment to develop the country’s 5G wireless infrastructure. In November, the New Zealand government rejected a local telecom's proposal to use Huawei equipment in its 5G network upgrade. In December, a major British telecom announced that it would remove Huawei equipment, and UK intelligence officials have flagged security shortfalls in Huawei software. Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, India, and Japan are reportedly considering banning or limiting Huawei. While not directly connected to the cybersecurity concerns of Huawei products, the detention of CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada on charges she misrepresented subsidiary relationships in order to deceive U.S. banks into conducting business with Iranian telecommunications companies in violation of U.S. sanctions has raised the tensions around the company considerably.

The United States is also working with its allies to slow Huawei’s expansion in third markets. Australia objected after the Solomon Islands signed a deal with the company to explore building a link between it and the Australian mainland, and the government eventually stepped in and will pay for the bulk of the construction to keep Huawei out. Efforts by the United States, Japan, and Australia to stop Huawei in its efforts to build a submarine telecommunications cable to Papua New Guinea were not as successful when the country decided that it could not afford to walk away from a project that was more than half finished. As one minister put it, “Whatever views Australia or the U.S. might have in relation to cybersecurity, as far as Huawei or China are concerned, those are for the big boys to worry about.”

The race for 5G is far from over. U.S. companies hold a strong position in patents and technological development. Chinese telecoms are rapidly developing competing technologies, benefit from government support in roll out and implementation of 5G services, and often offer their products at prices twenty to thirty percent cheaper than their competitors. The challenge for Washington is to create an environment that supports innovation at home and a shared approach to 5G security with its friend and allies. The competition is likely to pick up in 2019, and the end result increasingly looks like separate spheres of technology influence.

Most Chinese feel West's growing containment of China, but optimistic about future: poll

China-US relations are the most important bilateral ties, and more Chinese listed the trade friction between them as the most impressive international event in 2018, according to a latest survey report on how Chinese people view the world.

China excels in testing year of 2018

After this tough year, China has more adequate policy and mental preparations, no matter how 2019 turns out. China needs to be well-prepared for difficulties. No external force can bring China down and those who try will pay a hard price. This is the confidence that 2018 has brought China.
A true multinational - Newspaper headline: A Huawei Technologies Co logo sits on display inside an electronic goods store in Berlin on

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Employees believe Huawei will survive widespread bans in West with ‘Wolf spirit’ culture

A true multinational - Newspaper headline:

A Huawei Technologies Co logo sits on display inside an electronic goods store in Berlin on December 17. Photo: VCG

Former Huawei employee in US laments government's 'endless assaults on the company'

○ Huawei's so-called 'wolf culture' helped it become successful in foreign countries

○ The top global telecom equipment provider has been going through a tough year in 2018

○ Chinese and foreign employees hold different views on Huawei's rapid expansion and aggressive corporate strategy

When Jason Li was assigned to the Mobile World Congress at the beginning of 2011, shortly after he joined China's Huawei Technologies, he impressed Ren Zhengfei, the former military officer who founded the company in 1987, with a presentation about the company's products in English.

"He [Ren] came to the company's stand the day before the congress kicked off and asked me where I studied before joining the company. I said New Zealand," Li said, noting that Ren immediately suggested that this newly recruited employee should fly to the UK office and help build a local talent center as part of Huawei's global expansion.

The Shenzhen-based company has experienced a rapid expansion over the past 30 years, and has footprints in more than 170 countries and regions. However, it has been under the spotlight recently as Meng Wanzhou - its chief financial officer - was arrested by the Canadian authorities in Vancouver on December 1 at the request of the US on suspicion of violating US trade sanctions.

Under pressure from the US, more governments in the West have been considering blocking Huawei's core products over security concerns, which is considered as a major setback in its development into a multinational giant.

Former employees of Huawei like Li spent years working overseas, and describe Huawei's corporate culture as a "wolf culture" that helped it become successful.

However, this "wolf culture" also sparked controversy, and might have harmed its current operations.

Arduous journey

When Li started working at Huawei's London office, he started everything from zero. From 2012 to 2014, he had traveled to over 20 countries and spent most of his days in countless hotels and airports, sacrificing much of his spare time to reach out to more foreign telecom carriers and companies.

"As soon as I left Egypt after a business trip to Cairo years ago, the country plunged into civil conflict, and some of my former coworkers were stuck in the hotel. And one time in Nigeria, we were exposed to yellow fever," he told the Global Times, referring to those days at Huawei as an unforgettable memory.

Long working hours on challenging projects with constant business trips to remote areas are common descriptions of the workplace culture at the world's largest telecoms equipment maker.

"Employees at Chinese telecom companies such as Huawei and ZTE endured hardships in an earlier stage of global expansion," Xiang Ligang, a veteran industry analyst close to Huawei, told the Global Times in a recent interview.

Ren, the founder of Huawei, is considered one of the most successful Chinese executives during the country's reform and opening-up. He was influenced by the military theories of Mao Zedong, according to a book on Huawei's development published in April.

Like Mao's military theories, which advocated taking small and medium cities and extensive rural areas first as part of a revolution, Ren started from remote and less developed areas to avoid fierce competition with foreign rivals.

"In some countries in Africa and South America, telecom operators could not afford expensive products. They also lacked staff members for maintenance and operations. This gave more room for companies like Huawei and ZTE, which continuously assigned staff to those areas, to grow," Xiang said.

Huawei beat Ericsson and Nokia in the global mobile infrastructure market in 2017, as the Chinese company took 28 percent of the market share and became the largest mobile infrastructure provider worldwide, according to the latest industry report from IHS.

"In the early days, Huawei assigned most of its senior executives to the overseas market to explore business opportunities," Xiang said, noting that accepting these assignments later became an unwritten rule.

Lingering conflicts

Huawei's corporate culture has a long-lasting influence on its staff. An former employee who worked as a programmer at Huawei's then headquarters in Nanshan district, Shenzhen in the early 2000s said that he worked for Huawei for about one year and a half shortly after he graduated from college but the short experience there has instilled a lasting impact on his future career. He learned to be hardworking, persistent and low-key.

Even after he left Huawei, he sometimes, as if he had been brainwashed, still would read aloud the internal letters written by Ren Zhengfei circulated online to his then-girlfriend-now-wife, partly as a way to woo and impress her, and partly as a way to draw inspiration and strength for himself.

The employee in his early 40s who only spoke on condition of anonymity said he worked long hours from about 10 am to 10 pm every working day at Huawei. When he was tired, he would sleep on the mattress under his desk. "All co-workers did the same, especially the managers," he said. "When a new project kicked in, we would work overnight."

This so-called wolf spirit - a high-pressure workplace - is also known as a "mattress culture," as many of its engineers work so hard that they use blankets and mattresses to sleep at the office. And this military-style management was sometimes rejected by its foreign staff overseas, which led to deeper culture clashes.

"As far as I know about this so-called military style management, it's implementing the corporate policy in the most efficient way," Li said.

For example, when he worked at the company's London office, all the staff there were required to punch in and out every day, following strict discipline.

"Sometimes, foreign employees preferred more flexible working hours, especially when it was bad weather. But the headquarters rejected this request," he said, noting that localizing its business in foreign markets was a bumpy road over some similar daily issues.

For some foreign employees, being part of a growing Chinese company is still remarkable experience.

"I have great respect for what the company has achieved… Huawei's growth and expansion have been amazingly impressive. It was exciting to be a part of that," William Plummer, the company's former US vice president of external affairs, told the Global Times.

Plummer, who is considered an eight-year veteran bridging the Chinese company with the US government, was reportedly laid off by Huawei in April amid rising tension between China and the US.

He noted that the experience with Huawei was sometimes frustrating both "due to the US government's endless assaults on the company, and the company's inability to trust and listen to non-Chinese experts in dealing with such matters."

The company has been going through a tough year in 2018. In January, major US carrier AT&T suspended potential cooperation with Huawei in its mobile business over security concerns.

And the "Five Eyes" nations (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK, US) decided to take aim at all Chinese telecoms equipment companies. Australia slashed its use of Chinese-made products in August, followed by New Zealand and the UK.

In particular, the US government targeted Huawei for years, as American counterintelligence agents and prosecutors began exploring possible cases against its leadership back in 2010, according to the New York Times.

Focus on own work

After Meng's arrest, several of Huawei's Chinese employees shared posts on their social media accounts to support each other, claiming that the company can definitely get through this difficult time.

"It will survive widespread bans in Western countries … and we should focus on our own work," a current employee at the company told the Global Times.

Some observers suggested that Huawei's foreign and Chinese staff, who often hold different attitudes in the workplace, may see its struggles in a different light.

Many Chinese staff work very hard overseas because of Huawei's incentive stock options. "Three years after I joined Huawei, I earned about 300,000 yuan ($43,500) a year, and my bonus was almost the same as my basic salary," said a former Chinese employee "Eric," who worked at Huawei from 2009 to 2013 and spent a year in Mumbai, India.

Working long hours is driven by growing business. Many employees understand that the better financial performance Huawei has, the more profits its employees could share in accordance to employee stock ownership plans.

However, to become a true global tech firm, Huawei will need to diversify its leadership, Plummer suggested.

As the case of Meng has entered the judicial system, some believe that Huawei's situation will get worse, even though there is no proof for the US allegations.

Looking into this dilemma, the company's aggressive and customer-centered business strategies might have helped its take over as much market share as possible.

"But in the long run, as a private company that insists on not going public, its opaque financial status also raises questions over its sustainability," Eric said.

By Chen Qingqing Source:Global Times

Newspaper headline: A true multinational


Americans still covet trade with China, blame Trump administration for complicating issue

The past year was a tough year for China-US relations. From Washington DC to Iowa to Seattle, this Global Times reporter recently talked to over 50 government officials, scholars, reporters, businessmen and farmers in the US and asked them what they think of the trade war and China-US relations

Chinese diplomacy defeats US interference

China should be confident in this: As long as China maintains steady peripheral diplomacy, the US can do nothing to China and Beijing will gain the initiative in diplomacy toward Washington.

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World economy set to feel trade war pain in 2019

Data points to slowing exports, companies warn of ongoing disruption

While 2018 was the year trade wars broke out, 2019 will be the year the global economy feels the pain. Bloomberg’s Global Trade Tracker is softening amid a fading rush to front-load export orders ahead of threatened tariffs. And volumes are tipped to slow further even as the U.S. and China seek to resolve their trade spat, with companies warning of ongoing disruption.

Read more: A Fragile Truce Keeps Global Trade on Edge

Already there are casualties. GoPro Inc. will move most of its U.S.-bound camera production out of China by next summer, becoming one of the first brand-name electronics makers to take such action, while FedEx Corp. recently slashed its profit forecast and pared international air-freight capacity.

“Any kind of interference with commerce is going to be a tax on the economy,” said Hamid Moghadam, chief executive officer of San Francisco-based Prologis Inc., which owns almost 4,000 logistics facilities globally. “And the world economy is probably going to slow down as a result of it.”

Financial markets have already taken a hit. Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimates that the trade war news has accounted for a net drop of 6 percent in the S&P 500 this year. China’s stock market has lost $2 trillion in value in 2018 and is languishing in a bear market.

Recent data underscore concerns that trade will be a drag on American growth next year. U.S. consumers are feeling the least optimistic about the future economy in a year, while small business optimism about economic improvement fell to a two-year low and companies expect smaller profit gains in 2019.

Synchronized Slowdown
Global growth is set to decelerate in coming years
Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

What Our Economists Say...

For the world economy, the threat of trade war has dissipated, not disappeared. Three risks stand out. First, 90 days of talks between China and the U.S. might end in failure, with higher tariffs following. Second, even without an increase in tariffs, front-loading of exports in 2018 will reduce shipments in 2019. Finally, looking beyond the trade war, early warning signs from PMI surveys to FedEx profit warnings flag a softening of demand. --Tom Orlik, Bloomberg Economics

The International Monetary Fund forecasts trade volumes will slow to 4 percent in 2019 from 4.2 percent this year and 5.2 percent in 2017. They warn that trade barriers have become more pronounced.

Europe isn’t insulated either. While Germany’s key machinery sector will produce a record 228 billion euros ($260 billion) this year, the trade disputes are among reasons why growth will slow, according to the VDMA industry association. Output will increase about 5 percent in real terms in 2018, the most since 2011, before growth slows to 2 percent next year.

Then there’s the risk of the U.S. placing tariffs on auto imports from Europe and Japan, a move that would damage relations between some of the world’s biggest economies. The arrest of Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou illustrates the risk of unexpected developments that can quickly inflame already tense relations.

"‘Trade divergence’ since 2018 and the ‘Tariffs-Limbo’ into 2019 are likely to keep a high degree of uncertainty and continue to have an impact on trade and investment plans," New York-based Citigroup global markets economist Cesar Rojas wrote in a recent note.

The critical question is whether Washington and Beijing can strike a deal by the March 1 deadline. If they succeed, a cloud will be lifted off the world economy. But for now, the threat that tensions will linger is a brake on business expansion plans, and thereby the global economy.

Dippin’ Dots LLC is among those caught in the crossfire. The U.S.-based maker of ice cream and other frozen products spent three years breaking into the Chinese market and opened its first stores in the country this year, only to pay double-digit tariffs on imported dairy products. CEO Scott Fischer said if the U.S.-China talks fail and additional tariffs are added, he’d be forced to rethink strategy, supply chains, and where in the world he expands.

“From an entrepreneur’s perspective, our question is how long will this continue?" Fischer said. “It’s hard to plan business in this environment."

— Bloomberg With assistance by Sveinung Sleire, and Christian Wienberg


World economy is set to feel the delayed trade war pain in 2019 ...

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China's breakthrough technologies 2018: Year in Review

From the world's longest sea bridge to the homegrown AG600 amphibious aircraft, from the world's fastest bullet train to the energy-saving "artificial sun"... China is emerging as a science and technology powerhouse. Click this video for some of China's breakthrough technologies in 2018.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Panic In Washington, US currency traders on the frontlines as Trump's 2-year stock honeymoon ends with hunt for betrayer and govt shutdown

Panic In Washington – Treasury Secretary Calls Top Bankers To Check Liquidity, While On Vacation
  Jerome Powell Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Currency Traders on Front Line as Markets Stay Wary of U.S. Risk

The final week of 2018 could prove tumultuous for investors as holiday-thinned trading combines with a growing array of pressures on markets.

Traders in the $5.1 trillion-a-day currency market were among the first to respond to a partial U.S. government shutdown and a report that President Donald Trump has discussed firing Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The dollar slipped against its Group-of-10 peers, while the yen, seen by many as a haven, gained for a seventh day.

Treasury futures climbed in early Asian hours before paring their advance. Cash bonds trading was shut in Asia due to a holiday in Japan, the first in a week that will see a number of closures across major markets.

Sentiment in global financial markets has already taken a beating with the S&P 500 Index just recording its worst week in seven years. Increased uncertainty over the leadership of the Fed could add to turmoil along with a partial shutdown of the U.S. government, although assurances from U.S. Treasury Steven Mnuchin about liquidity and the future of the central bank chief may ease some concerns.

The Treasuries yield curve last week moved closer than ever to its first post-crisis inversion and the rally in safer assets dragged the 10-year yield below 2.75 percent for the first time since April. However, given that much of the upheaval is emanating from the U.S., it is not entirely clear whether Treasuries, and also the U.S. dollar, will act as reliable havens should Powell’s leadership face a genuine threat.

Societe Generale SA’s head of U.S. rates strategy Subadra Rajappa said she thinks a change in Fed leadership is “extremely unlikely,” though she’s not ruling out the possibility of the president persuading Powell to “resign.”

“If it comes to that, given the backdrop of the recent government shutdown, investors might be less inclined to treat Treasuries as safe haven assets,” she said by email. “A change in Fed leadership will likely rattle the already-fragile financial markets and further tighten financial conditions.”

Market participants are generally of the view that Powell will not be fired, and senior administration officials say Trump recognizes he doesn’t have that authority. But even continued exploration of the possibility could make for a volatile week.

The market response to a material threat to the Fed’s independence would be complicated, according to Steve Englander, head of global G-10 FX research and North America macro strategy for Standard Chartered Bank. He said near-term uncertainty over the process and politics in a fluid situation would weigh on equity prices and bond yields. The dollar, he said, would likely face multiple opposing forces, but the “near-term response is likely negative on the risk that U.S. economic policy becomes more erratic.”

Kitchen Sink

The Bloomberg Dollar Index was up more than 4 percent in 2018 at the end of last week and is close to its highest level in a year and a half, while the Japanese yen surged around 2 percent last week versus the greenback.

Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York, is among the few eyeing the strained relations between the president and the Fed chair with equanimity.

The stock market “has discounted everything but the kitchen sink, including the loss of a Fed Chair who hasn’t been in office for even a year yet,” he said by email.

Given that the Fed is already close to the end of its hiking cycle, the markets won’t melt down if Powell leaves office, according to Rupkey. “They already did,” he said.

Those on the front lines of this week’s opening trade say markets are on a knife edge.

Mind the Machines

“If equity markets fall further, they’re going to set off machine-based selling,” said Saed Abukarsh, the co-founder of Dubai-based hedge fund Ark Capital Management. “The other risk is that experienced traders are on holiday, so the ones left will be trigger happy with every new headline.”

“I can’t see buyers stepping into this market to stem off any selling pressure until January,” said Abukarsh. “So if you need to adjust your books for the year-end with any meaningful size, you’re going to have to pay for it.”

Trump’s two-year stock honeymoon ends with hunt for betrayer width="640"

Nobody was happier to take credit for surging stocks than Donald Trump, who touted and tweeted each leg up. Now the bull is on life support and the search for its killer is on.

And while many on Wall Street share the president’s frustration with the man atop his markets enemies list, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, they say Trump himself risks making things worse with too much aggression when equities are one bad session away from a bear market.

“You would think that after coming off of the worst week for the markets since the financial crisis in 2008, he would look to create some stability,” said Chuck Cumello, CEO of Essex Financial Services. “Instead we get the opposite, with this headline and more self-induced uncertainty. This coming from a president who when the market goes up views it as a barometer of his success.”

U.S. stock futures whipsawed Monday and were little changed after swinging from a 0.9 percent gain to a loss of the same magnitude. The equity market closes at 1 p.m. in New York ahead of the Christmas holiday.

Click here to see all of Trump’s tweets on the economy and markets.

Attempts by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to reassure markets that Powell wouldn’t be ousted appeared to have largely removed that as an immediate concern for traders, but the secretary’s tweet Sunday that he called top executives from the six largest U.S. banks to check on their liquidity and lending infrastructure added to anxiety.

To be sure, equities remain solidly higher since Trump took office. Even with its 17 percent drop over the last three months, the S&P 500 has risen 18 percent since Election Day. The Nasdaq Composite Index is up 25 percent with dividends. True, volatility has jumped to a 10-month high, but market turbulence was significantly worse for three long stretches under Barack Obama.

The S&P 500 slumped 7.1 percent last week and the Nasdaq Composite Index spiraled into a bear market. As of 2:31 p.m. in Hong Kong, futures on the S&P 500 were up 0.6 percent while Nasdaq 100 contracts added 0.5 percent.

While Trump seems to have found his villain in Powell, blame is a dubious concept in financial markets, as anyone who has tried to explain the current rout can attest.

Along with the Fed chairman, everything from rising bond yields, trade tariffs, falling bond yields, Brexit, tech valuations and Italian finances have been implicated in the downdraft that has erased $5 trillion from American equity values in three months.

Whatever’s behind it, nothing has been able to stop it. And while many on Wall Street credit the president for helping jump-start the market after taking office, they say he should look in the mirror to see another person creating stress for it right now.

“Trump was gloating how much good he had done for the economy and the market. Now he’s blaming Powell for the decline instead of himself,” said Rick Bensignor, founder of Bensignor Group and a former strategist for Morgan Stanley. “Half his key staff has been fired or quit. The markets are off for a variety of reasons, but most of them have Trump behind them.”

If Trump is bent on getting rid of Powell, there may be ways of doing it that don’t risk kicking a volatile market into hysteria, said Walter “Bucky” Hellwig, a senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

“It doesn’t have to be firing, it could be someone else taking Powell’s job. That could be a net positive for the markets,” Hellwig said. “A friendly change in the head of the Fed may cause some turbulence short-term but it may be offset with the markets repricing the risk associated with two rate hikes in 2019.”

For now, the turmoil shows no signs of letting up. In the Nasdaq 100, home to tech giants like Apple Inc. and, there have been 17 sessions with losses greater than 1.5 percent this quarter, the most since 2009. Small caps are down 26 percent from a record, while the Nasdaq Biotech Index has dropped at least 1 percent on seven straight days, the longest streak since its inception in 1993.

It’s been a long time since anyone in the U.S. has lived through this protracted a decline. Including Trump.

”It’s impossible to tease out what the proximate causes are,” said Kevin Caron, a senior portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors. “The normal ebb and flow of financial markets are all part of the mix. It’s impossible just to point to the chairman as the only input.”

Credit: Bloomberg


Panic In Washington – Treasury Secretary Calls Top Bankers To Check Liquidity, While On Vacation


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Monday, December 24, 2018

Unfolding future innovation: a look ahead at 2019's tech trends

5G connectivity promises faster Internet speeds and more efficiency to run complex tasks in the cloud. —

 All the ways life could change with technology in 2019.

FASTER data connectivity, smartphones with a bold new look and more reasons to cheer for the national team at a sporting event? These are just some reasons we predict 2019 is going to be another exciting year in technology.

Bend and not break 

We could be getting our hands on a foldable smartphone by Samsung very soon – the South Korean tech giant gave the world a glimpse of a working protoype at the Samsung Developer Conference in November.

According to Justin Denison, the senior vice-president of mobile product marketing at Samsung, the prototype measured at 18.5cm diagonally. The new design will give users the experience of having a pocket size device – with a 4.6in screen when folded – that can be unfolded to reveal a bigger ­tablet-sized 7.4in screen, a feature Samsung has dubbed the Infinty Flex Display.

A foldable phone by Samsung is coming our way in 2019. — AP
A foldable phone by Samsung is coming our way in 2019. — AP

Sources told South Korea-based Yonhap News Agency that Samsung is planning to officially launch the device, tentatively known as the Galaxy F as Samsung has not given it an official name yet, at an event in March. Other companies looking to release a foldable smartphone include Huawei and Sony.

Samsung’s foldable device with Infinity Flex Display is a smartphone model that features a tablet-sized screen when unfolded and a smaller screen when folded like a book. — APSamsung’s foldable device with Infinity Flex Display is a smartphone model that features a tablet-sized screen when unfolded and a smaller screen when folded like a book. — AP

Speaking of Galaxy phones, Samsung also has another ­highly-anticipated release in 2019 and it’s the flagship Galaxy S10. Some leaks suggest that we could be looking at a device with a bigger full screen bezel-less feature – ­reputable leaker UniverseIce claimed the model will have a 6.7in display – multiple rear camera setup and interestingly, a punch-hole screen design for the front camera. (Notch? What notch?)

Citing Yonhap News, The Verge reported that the South Korean tech giant is expected to unveil the flagship Galaxy S10 in February 2019, most likely at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Spain. Yonhap’s sources also say there are plans to showcase the Galaxy F at MWC ahead of its official March launch.

Gotta move faster

The dawn of 5G network ­connectivity is upon us. This new technology promises significantly faster data transmission speeds and capacity, less waiting around for an online task to be completed (also known as lower latency), and could connect more smart devices and sensors simultaneously than ever before.

According to Reuters, 5G is ­currently in the final testing phase and is poised to offer data speeds of up to 50 or even 100 times faster than current 4G networks. In ­theory, that is.

To test real-world 5G speeds, Qualcomm ran a simulation to approximate real-world 5G speeds in Frankfurt and San Francisco, taking into account various factors such as geography, user demands on the network as well as devices with varying levels of LTE and 5G connectivity.

As reported by The Verge, the tests yielded more down-to-earth but still vastly improved speeds – in Frankfurt, browsing speeds went up from 56Mbps for 4G users to 490Mbps for 5G users, with download speeds clocking in at 100Mbps for over 90% of users compared to 8Mbps on LTE. In San Francisco, browsing speeds jumped up from 71Mbps for the 4G user to 1.4Gbps for the 5G user, while download speeds clocked in at 186Mbps on 5G compared to 10Mbps on 4G.

As 5G is an entirely new technology, users will have to upgrade to new smartphones – to that end, one of the variants of Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S10 is said to support 5G, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Apart from high speed mobile and data services, experts agree that 5G is essential for the next phase in developing technologies like self-driving cars and ­improving industries like ­healthcare, virtual and augmented reality and more.

Vodafone demonstrated how a young football fan could get Houghton (left) to teach her some football skills with a holographic 3D call on a 5G network. — APVodafone demonstrated how a young football fan could get Houghton (left) to teach her some football skills with a holographic 3D call on a 5G network. — AP

In September, Vodafone ­demonstrated how a live 3D ­holographic call is possible with 5G at the Vodafone Future Ready Conference in United Kingdom. In the demonstration, English footballer Steph Houghton appeared as a hologram to give an 11-year-old fan some game tips. This exchange showcases how the technology could potentially change the way people communicate with each other, with more chances for remote coaching, training as well as enabling more immersive interactions with famous personalities.

In Malaysia, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo announced that Putrajaya and Cyberjaya as testing grounds for national-level 5G trials. The one-year trial began in November and the findings will help the government develop plans and policies on the use of 5G network in the country.

Game on

In 2019, brace yourself for the possible release of another Nintendo Switch. The WSJ reported that Nintendo plans to release a new version of the popular gaming console, with one possible upgrade being a better display.

One of the biggest news in 2018 is Sony announcing that it will not be attending the 2019 E3 Expo for the first time in 24 years. Instead, the company shared that it will be “engaging with consumers and the community in different ways”, with unconfirmed rumours ­swirling that the company might hold its own event to announce details on the PlayStation 5.

Companies like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo could all be announcing new gaming consoles in 2019. — AP Companies like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo could all be announcing new gaming consoles in 2019. — AP

According to tech website T3, the PS5 console may include upgrades to support 60FPS (frames per ­second) at 4K resolution and it will be running on next-generation AMD graphics cards. Sony could also be announcing details about the PlayStation VR2 – upgrades may include better controllers, new built-in cameras and gloves for enhanced virtual reality experience.

One company that is not ­skipping E3 in 2019 is Microsoft. Speculation is rife that the ­company will be using the event to announce details about two new next-generation Xbox consoles, codenamed Anaconda and Lockhart. Users could also be ­looking at a cloud-based streaming-only disc-less version of the Xbox One S for 2019, which could be announced as soon as next month, according to The Verge.

Microsoft is also expected to reveal more details about its Project xCloud, a Netflix-style streaming service for Xbox games. Not to be confused with Xbox Game Pass, Project xCloud – currently in beta testing mode – is said to make Xbox games available across PCs, phones, and consoles.

Gamers can also look forward to major videogame releases in 2019 – there’s the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts 3, The Last Of Us 2 and hopefully, Hideo Kojima’s star-studded and much-hyped Death Stranding.

For mobile gamers, there’s the 2019 release of the Harry Potter Wizards Unite AR game by Niantic, the same developer behind Pokémon Go. The game will allow users to encounter characters and creatures from the Harry Potter books, cast spells and solve ­mysteries.

Augmented Reality (AR) everywhere

AR technology is not exactly new to platforms like Snapchat and Instagram with its selfie filters, but we could be looking at more than just digital face masks in 2019.

In May, Facebook announced a new version of its AR developing tool AR Studio for content creators and developers. The tool is made for designing AR animations, ­visuals and interactions for the Facebook Camera. Along with existing features like AR Target Tracker and free-to-use sound files, Facebook said it will be adding other features like Body Tracking, Hand Tracking and analytics for AR effects. So you could expect more AR elements in the photos or videos your friends share on Facebook.

AR is likely to become a bigger part of the way we experience events in real life and consume content on social media platforms. Here, an attendee is trying out an AR baseball game at a trade show in Japan. — BloombergAR is likely to become a bigger part of the way we experience events in real life and consume content on social media platforms. Here, an attendee is trying out an AR baseball game at a trade show in Japan. — Bloomberg

AR could also be a part of more live experiences like concerts and sporting events in 2019. TechCrunch reported that rapper Eminem ­incorporated AR into his live ­performance at Coachella music ­festival in April.

Concertgoers could see added AR visual enhancements to the show by downloading the Eminem Augmented app.

In terms of gaming, something exciting is brewing at Niantic. The company announced that it is investing in holographic ­augmented reality display – technology ­developed by ­waveguide optics firm DigiLens, which specialises in ­wearable ­lightweight plastic AR ­displays. For users, it could mean that Niantic is looking to enhance game play interactivity with an AR device like smart ­glasses.

Cheer for Malaysia in eSports

Malaysia is beginning to embrace eSports as a mainstream sporting event. In the recent Budget 2019, the ­government announced a RM10mil budget for the development of eSports in the country.

In 2019, eSports will be a medal event at the South-East Asia Games (SEA) in Philippines. eSports Malaysia secretary-­general Rinie Ramli said a national league will be held as the selection ­process for a squad to represent Malaysia at the SEA Games.

Get set to support a Malaysian eSports team at the SEA Games. — BernamaGet set to support a Malaysian eSports team at the 2019 SEA Games. — Bernama

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is going to be one of the titles ­contested at the Games, along with other shortlisted titles like Dota 2, StarCraft II, Tekken 7 and Arena Of Valor, according to a recent announcement by the Philippine SEA Games ­organising committee and its eSports partner, gaming hardware company Razer.

eSports is also currently being considered as a medal event for the 2022 Asian Games in China. However, the plan to announce eSports as an official medal event has been put on hold as the ­gaming committee does not want a violent or shooting-based game to be contested. Reuters reported that titles for the 2022 Asian Games may feature sports-themed games like Pro Evolution Soccer (PES). Whatever it may be, we’ll look to eSports as a way of getting everyone together to cheer for the same team.

Source: TechNews, The Star by angelin yeoh

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Sunday, December 23, 2018

China launches satellite for space-based free Internet broadband and free wifi worldwide

China Launches Satellite for Space-based Internet Broadband and wifi  worldwide 

China launches first low-Earth-orbit satellite
China launched its first low-Earth-orbit satellite at 7:51 am on Saturday at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China's Gansu Province, making substantial progress in the country's construction of a satellite communications system.

China has launched a communications satellite, marking the first step in building a vast network in space, capable of covering the entire world with broadband Internet service.

A Long March-11 rocket carrying the experimental satellite blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China this morning. It then entered its preset orbit. The launch is part of the Hongyun Project, backed by the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation. The firm plans to launch four more satellites before the end of 2020 to form a small network for Hongyun's trial run to provide global Internet service.

The satellite was launched from a Long March 11 carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in north-western China and is the first in the Hongyun project planned by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC).

Beijing: China on Saturday launched its first communication satellite to provide broadband internet services worldwide in an apparent bid to rival Google and other international firms.

The satellite was launched from a Long March 11 carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in north-western China and is the first in the Hongyun project planned by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC).

The Hongyun project, started in September 2016, aims to build a space-based communications network to provide broadband internet connectivity to users around the world, especially those in the underserved regions.

The spacecraft is tasked with verifying basic designs of Hongyun satellite and demonstrating low-orbit broadband communications technologies, China Daily reported.

The satellite is expected to work beyond its design life of one year.

"Weighing 247 kilograms, the satellite works in a sun-synchronous orbit about 1,100 kilometers above earth. It is powered by solar arrays and has a design life of one year, but is expected to operate longer, Xiang Kaiheng, Hongyun's chief designer at CASIC Space Engineering Development Co Ltd here said.

CASIC plans to launch four mass-production Hongyun satellites in future.

"After a yearlong in-orbit technological demonstration by the satellite, CASIC plans to launch four mass-production Hongyun satellites before the end of 2020 to form a small network for Hongyun's trial run, the Daily quoted Xiang as saying.

Stating that CASIC currently intends to place more than 150 Hongyun satellites on orbits about 1,000 kms above the ground around 2023, he said that the constellation is likely to be further expanded in response to market demands.

The concept of running a low-cost, high-performance satellite network to provide space-based communications and internet services has become popular globally among industry players.

Currently, many foreign tech companies, including Google, SpaceX, OneWeb and Telesat, have already launched plans to use satellites to provide free internet access.

The US' SpaceX launched two experimental satellites last month to test technologies for its Starlink project, in which tech tycoon Elon Musk proposes to put a total of nearly 12,000 satellites into orbit by the mid-2020s.

Similarly, US firm, OneWeb, plans to launch a satellite constellation of 648 low-Earth orbit microsatellites by the end of 2019, though few developments have been reported.

Last month, a Chinese internet technology firm unveiled the first satellite in a constellation plan comprising of 272 satellites to provide free WiFi service worldwide.- News18


Low-earth orbit satellite project launched in Chongqing - China Daily

中國在全球完成根服務器部署,美國想阻止,晚了 網絡,是現在社會必備的東西,沒有網絡,多數人都會坐臥不安,因爲刷朋友圈要網絡,購物要網絡,甚至吃飯都需要網絡點餐。這樣發達的網絡,自然讓我國躍居世界上互聯網用戶和訪問量最大的國家。但很多同學可能不知道,因爲我國互聯網起步較晚,所以全球的13台IPv4根服務器服務器,中國一個也沒有。

US intensifying intervention in China through legislation means

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Saturday, December 22, 2018

US IP hacking allegations reach new depths in whimsical thinking

US Justice Department officials issued indictments on two Chinese nationals who allegedly stole, "in association with" the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS), vast amounts of confidential data from at least 45 US tech companies and government agencies over the past ten years.

Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong were charged with three counts each of computer hacking, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. According to the indictment, the two men targeted and "stole hundreds of gigabytes of sensitive data" in aviation, space and satellite technology, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and oil and gas exploration, as well as from communications and computer processing firms and maritime technology companies. The indictment also said the hackers stole personal information on more than 100,000 US Navy personnel.

The indictment claimed the two men were part of the hacking unit, and worked for a company called Huaying Haitai, in association with the Chinese MSS.

This most recent charge is part of the unprecedented prosecutorial efforts aimed at so-called "Chinese government-backed hacking," and serves as an accurate reflection of the escalated attacks against China that have been carried out by the US through legal mechanisms. The indictment refers to specific individuals, which is actually misleading as it suggests the US has evidence worthy of an indictment against China. But the logical fallacies tucked inside the allegations will not prevent outsiders from thinking that the move was nothing more than a carefully constructed effort motivated by political purposes.

It is unknown if the two Chinese nationals in question, and the company they worked for, have hacked anything at all, let alone US corporations and institutions. However, it is an over-exaggeration to say the alleged hackers are so "omnipotent" that they can pilfer anything they desire from key American sectors. Are they capable of doing so in the real world?

Supposing, as the US DoJ indictment states, that hackers could get whatever they wanted through internet channels, where one or two individuals could steal technology developed by thousands of researchers, then the world's most profitable sector would be the hacking industry. Computer hackers would have the ability to take down pirates and drug-trafficking enterprises, as well as the top companies in innovation. They would be immune to any kind of legislation. If this really were the case, the best hackers would undoubtedly come from the US and other Western countries as they are most developed in the world.

The US government initially claimed that China's hacking efforts have so far cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars annually, a preposterous claim from any vantage point. To begin with, and assuming China is so powerful that it has stolen technological information for over a decade that is supposedly worth over a trillion in intellectual property, as the US has indicated, then how is it that China still lags behind the US in so many fields, from chips to electric vehicles, and even aviation engines?

Since the US has been combating hackers for such an extended period, then how is it that some are able to do whatever they want? If American institutions had such fragile cyber systems, then nothing would be worth stealing.

The bias here is rooted in such strong cultural arrogance that some American elites are now convinced that China's rapid growth could not have happened without first stealing US technology. After failing to find such Chinese cyberspies, US officials amplified concerns by publicly claiming that Chinese scholars and college students in the US were indeed engaged in some level of espionage. Now, these same people whimsically believe that Chinese hackers have an important role on the internet when it comes to US intellectual property theft.

Nobody knows how many hackers are in China, but there isn't one Chinese citizen who believes that a few online game masters, who could also be cyber thieves, are the true pioneers behind China's technology modernization. After all, officials from China's security sector are not that stupid or naïve.

It would be farcical in nature to pair cybersecurity authorities with gaming experts, especially when taking into account the Chinese system. Security officials do not blithely categorize gaming experts, while disregarding Sino-US relations, accusing them of stealing critical foreign technology from a variety of industries, the way a burglar would break into a department store.

Those security officials simply do not exist, who are technology experts that can create a complex system serving the needs of companies in all industries while effectively manipulating would-be hackers with ease. There is not an entity on the planet that would take such a risk when network security is one of the most sensitive issues between China and the US.

The US allegations against China are practically hysterical all by themselves. This latest round shows the US attack on China has become more comprehensive, which could see more of China's government agencies getting involved. Actually, it is inevitable. Therefore, instead of adhering to a low profile strategy, China must face these provocations from the US and do more to safeguard national interests.

In recent months, the US has taken provocative action, like sanctioning senior-ranking PLA generals, ordering their allies to arrest Huawei executives, to prosecuting and extraditing so-called "Chinese spies," and signing Tibet-related bills.

China needs to reflect upon the previous passivity that it has shown and respond proactively. China is a country that loves peace and always pursues gentle action. However, now is the time for China to consider new countermeasures against nations who have done nothing but pour dirty water on the country's basins. - Global Times.


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