Huawei finds a way into the U.S.
In recent years, both India and the U.S. have blocked Chinese telecoms equipment and mobile phone manufacturer Huawei from selling certain types of hardware and investing in certain sectors. The ostensible reason is the fear that Huawei, whose founder Ren Zhengfei 任正非 served in the Chinese army as a young man, would allow unauthorized access by the Chinese government to sensitive data, but protectionism is no doubt a factor.
Now The Information reports (paywall) that AT&T has “tentatively agreed” to sell Huawei smartphones in the U.S. in the first half of 2018, according to “people familiar with the matter.”
- This would be the first time Huawei goes head to head with Apple and Samsung in the U.S.
- Some Huawei phones are already available in the U.S. on Amazon and at big box retailers, but as The Information explains, “about three-quarters of smartphones in the U.S. are sold through carriers,” so you’re only really in the game if you have an agreement with one of them.
Meanwhile, back in China, the Wall Street Journal reports (paywall) that Huawei is engaged in a dispute with Tencent over the right to collect data from WeChat users with Huawei phones.
- The article says that Huawei is seeking to build its strength in artificial intelligence “so that its phones can, say, make restaurant suggestions based on a user’s text messages” by collecting data from current users of its high-end Honor Magic phone. This data includes messages sent using Tencent’s popular WeChat app.
- Tencent “contends that Huawei is effectively taking Tencent’s data and violating the privacy of WeChat users,” and has asked the government to intervene.
- Huawei denies it is violating user privacy, saying the data belongs to the user — not Tencent — and is collected only after user authorization.
China town halls across the U.S.
Every year, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations (NCUSCR) organizes a “China town hall” event comprising a keynote speech by a luminary of the bilateral relationship that is live streamed to cities across America, where local chapters host town halls featuring speakers with China expertise. Previous keynote speakers include Henry Kissinger and Jimmy Carter.
This year’s town hall is on October 24 with Susan E. Rice, former national security advisor and U.S. ambassador to the UN, as keynote speaker. Click here if you’d like to attend or apply to be a speaker. Listen to this Sinica Podcast if you want to know more about the NCUSCR.
Kaiser on Baidu
If you don’t get enough of my podcast co-host Kaiser Kuo in Sinica and Caixin Sinica Business Brief, listen to this long interview with Technode’s podcast about his time as Baidu’s
minister for repressing barbarian lies director of international communications.