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Author Topic: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc)  (Read 128455 times)
Power User
Posts: 42521

« Reply #600 on: January 18, 2018, 01:44:35 PM »

Exactly so.
Power User
Posts: 42521

« Reply #601 on: January 20, 2018, 12:51:50 PM »

With US Trade, China Plays a Dangerous Game

January 19, 2018

The U.S. has promised to get tougher on China for almost a year now. On the campaign trail, presidential candidate Donald Trump promised that, under his administration, China would not be allowed to take advantage of the U.S. through its trade practices. The tough talk ended once Washington realized it needed China’s help resolving the North Korea crisis. And now that that appears to have hit a dead end, Trump may soon make good on the threats he issued during the presidential campaign.

(click to enlarge)

The United States would have the upper hand in a trade war, but Beijing is not without weapons of its own. U.S. companies have made a fortune in China over the past 20 years, and they would like to make more over the next 20 years. Beijing knows this and is sending a message to those companies that they access the Chinese market at the pleasure of the Chinese Communist Party. Last week, the Shanghai branch of the state cyberspace administration shut down Marriott International’s website in China because the hotel chain listed Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as separate countries in a customer questionnaire. The questionnaire set off a firestorm on Chinese social media that eventually made its way to China’s Foreign Ministry. A spokesperson for the ministry said that if foreign businesses wanted to continue to do business in China, they should “respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, abide by Chinese law, and respect the Chinese peoples’ feelings.”

Then, on Jan. 12, China’s aviation authority singled out the second-largest U.S. airline, Delta, for listing Taiwan and Tibet as countries on its website. It called for an investigation and an immediate apology.

The businesses were not chosen randomly. Marriott owns 569 properties in the Asia-Pacific region, 300 of which are in China. The chain plans to build or acquire at least 300 more hotels there, which would mean nearly 10 percent of its properties would be located in China. For its part, Delta is in the midst of a multi-year restructuring of its Asia-Pacific operations. It plans to move its main hub in the region from Tokyo to Shanghai – the “hub of the future” in the words of Delta’s CEO.

The significance of U.S.-China trade relations shouldn’t be understated. Since the Soviet Union’s collapse, economic dependence has been the only thing tying U.S. and Chinese interests together. China sees the coming storm and is demonstrating what it can do if the Trump administration gets tough on trade, the area where the U.S. can hurt China the most. China is playing a dangerous game, but at this point it has no other choice
Power User
Posts: 42521

« Reply #602 on: January 21, 2018, 06:49:43 AM »

Australia: Australia’s prime minister is visiting Japan, where he is expected to sign a visiting forces agreement. Some reports say this is a prelude to a formal alliance. How long has this been in the making? Is it a stark change of policy, or is it the formalization of aligned Australian-Japanese interests? How will China respond?
•   Finding: Talks on a VFA have been ongoing since 2014 but picked up steam early last year following Donald Trump’s election. This is a landmark step for Japan, since it would be its first VFA (its agreement with the U.S. is somewhat different) and one that would add further momentum to its remilitarization. Notably, Japan is also negotiating a VFA with the United Kingdom, with which it is also eager to more regularly conduct joint drills. But it’s not a shift in trajectory; both Japan and Australia have gradually been building toward this. The basic utility of a VFA is to put formal structures in place that make it easier to conduct joint drills, position materiel at each other’s bases and so on. The functional goal of the emerging “quad” framework (involving the U.S., Japan, Australia and India) is to have these sorts of technical matters ironed out so that the quad can be elevated into a more formal alliance quickly should the need arise.
Power User
Posts: 42521

« Reply #603 on: January 21, 2018, 07:27:18 AM »

second post

For These Young Entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley Is, Like, Lame

China’s startup founders used to see a pilgrimage to tech’s mecca of innovation as a rite. Now, not so much.
By Li Yuan 
Updated Jan. 18, 2018 11:39 p.m. ET

Last week, a group of Chinese startup founders and investors made a pilgrimage to Silicon Valley. They toured a Tesla assembly line, complained to senior Apple executives about its slow app-reviewing process in China and brunched on baked eggs and avocado at Russian billionaire investor Yuri Milner’s hilltop mansion.

Silicon Valley has loomed large in China’s tech world in the past two decades. China’s internet industry started by copying Silicon Valley technologies and business models. That’s why there’s the Google of China ( Baidu  Inc. ), the Uber of China (Didi Chuxing Technology Co.) and the Groupon of China (Meituan-Dianping). Some of the biggest Chinese internet companies, such as e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding  Ltd. , were funded by Silicon Valley money. Translations of best-selling books by Silicon Valley sages, such as “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel and “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz, became instant best sellers in China too.

Fast Money

China leads the world in e-commerce and mobile payments—far surpassing the U.S., the world's largest economy.

For These Young Entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley Is, Like, Lame

So the trip to Silicon Valley is something of a rite for ambitious Chinese startups and investors looking for inspiration in global tech’s mecca of innovation.

But for most of the 18 entrepreneurs and investors, and especially for those in their 20s and 30s, last week’s visit largely failed to impress. To many in the group, northern California’s low-rise buildings looked shabbier than the glitzy skyscrapers in Beijing and Shenzhen. They can’t believe Americans still use credit cards and cash while they use mobile payment for almost everything back home, including settling bets for their Texas Hold’em games one night in Palo Alto.

Google and Intel Beware: China Is Gunning for Dominance in AI Chips

Chinese companies want to take the lead in building processors that use artificial intelligence to make phones, cars and home appliances interact with us more seamlessly. And they have a lot going in their favor.
Click to Read Story

In 2018, Tech’s Cowardly Lions Need Courage

In 2017, Silicon Valley did some soul-searching about tech’s role in spreading fake news that exacerbated social divisions in the U.S. Chinese tech firms should do some soul-searching too, given they work with an authoritarian government skilled in using technologies to try to control society.

Click to Read Story


They didn’t see the shared bikes that are ubiquitous in China’s cities nor could they order meal-delivery service at any hour. Office buildings don’t use facial recognition to gain entry.

As China’s internet industry has grown larger and its companies have become more competitive and confident, Silicon Valley’s allure is fading.

“The age that Silicon Valley serves as the teacher and China follows step by step is becoming the past, at an accelerating pace,” Li Gen, founder of online media startup QbitAI in Beijing, wrote about the trip on his company’s official WeChat social-media account.

That feeling was reinforced throughout their trip. Mr. Milner, an early Facebook investor who has also backed big Chinese startups, told his brunch guests that China leads the world in mobile payments, e-commerce and online services.

At several meetings, presentations included slides showing the volumes of China’s online meal delivery and mobile payments are many times that of the volumes in the U.S. Their slides also said e-commerce makes up more than 20% of China’s retail revenue while making up about 10% in the U.S.

“I’ve read about this before from the media and wasn’t sure if it’s for real,” says Ding Jichang, founder and chief executive of Mobiuspace, a mobile app developer. “Now I know we’re not self-delusional.”

That Chinese entrepreneurs had to travel to the U.S. for a shot of confidence about their tech prowess isn’t so strange. China blocks Facebook, Google’s search engine and some other U.S. internet services while Chinese companies are hitting barriers in the U.S. too. As a result, the biggest companies in the two markets rarely compete head-to-head.

One startup founder didn’t recognize the famous “like” button in the Facebook giftshop. On a giant digital world map showing where Facebook’s two-billion-plus monthly active users are, China is a big black blotch. A company employee told them that the only other country strangling access to Facebook is Iran (North Korea is largely disconnected from the global internet).

Last week’s tour was put together by Kai-Fu Lee, chief executive of Beijing-based venture firm Sinovation Ventures and former head of Google China. Mr. Lee believes that China has the talent and competitiveness to go head-to-head with the U.S. in the next important tech frontier—artificial intelligence.

Still, Mr. Lee thinks Chinese tech entrepreneurs have much to learn and should be less focused on financial results and on going public. He tried to expose the group to the more creative side of Silicon Valley, arranging for them to spend an afternoon listening to futuristic ideas at Singularity University. The think tank’s co-founder Peter Diamandis wowed the group with his asteroid-mining venture, Planetary Resources Inc., in which Sinovation Ventures is an investor.

They were wowed again when meeting with two startup founders funded by Coatue Management LLC, a hedge fund. One of the founders, a serial entrepreneur working on an artificial-intelligence chip startup, told the group that his firm has spent $30 million in two years on research and development and won’t have a product until later this year.

While the few older 40-somethings in the group admired Silicon Valley’s idealism, the younger ones were less impressed. They said that moonshot ideas and long development times don’t work in China because investors are less patient and copycats are so rife that businesses have to get products to market superfast.

“China is like a startup. The U.S. is like a big corporation,” says Mr. Ding, whose company is developing an app to improve video-watching even on cheaper smartphones popular in emerging markets. “China runs very fast, tweaking along the way. The U.S. runs at a steady pace, doing a lot of research and development. It’s hard to tell who will win in the end.”

Write to Li Yuan at
Power User
Posts: 42521

« Reply #604 on: January 27, 2018, 09:50:08 AM »

U.S., China: The USS Hopper, a guided-missile destroyer, is in the South China Sea. Already there are reports that it has sailed near Scarborough Shoal, which is claimed by China, the Philippines and Taiwan. The government in Beijing has vowed to safeguard its territorial claim. Is this routine, or is this the beginning of a change in policy?

•   Finding: This freedom of navigation operation is notable because it is likely the first of its kind. Scarborough Shoal, after all, is perhaps the area most contested by China and the Philippines. Beijing and Manila have abided by a fragile truce for the past year. In 2016, the Obama administration reportedly told Beijing that it considered any attempts to turn the shoal into a man-made island a red line, and the Philippine defense minister has credited this with stopping Chinese plans to build there. The operation may have added significance: It comes amid hints of a growing split between the Philippine Defense Ministry and the president over China’s militarization of the disputed islands – hints that have coincided with an uptick in U.S. criticism of the Chinese activities. The U.S. has little interest in picking a fight on Manila’s behalf; more likely, it is demonstrating that Scarborough is a priority. Still, we need to watch for signs that the U.S. is trying to change the status quo between Manila and Beijing.
U.S., China: The government in Beijing has predictably criticized the United States’ newest National Security Strategy, which names China as Washington’s biggest threat. We need an in-depth study of what is laid out in the U.S. strategy. How does it differ from previous strategies? To which points does China specifically object?

•   Finding: The National Security Strategy articulates a gradual shift in U.S. military focus. It emphasizes that the greatest threat facing the U.S. is great power competition from China and Russia (in that order), while terrorism and threats from “rogue states” like North Korea and Iran are secondary concerns. China’s criticism of the NSS echoes its general, long-standing criticisms of U.S. foreign policy: that the U.S. is stuck in a “Cold War mindset” marked by zero-sum thinking that mischaracterizes Beijing’s ambitions and undermines peace and stability in the Western Pacific. The Chinese would prefer to be treated as an equal power by the U.S., of course, and for Washington to cede dominance in the Western Pacific to Beijing, but there’s no reason to believe they really expected the U.S. to do so. There’s nothing in the NSS that would have caught the Chinese off guard, nor is there anything that could be altered through hearty protest. Their complaints are a matter of course and reflect the emerging strategic paradigm in the region.
Power User
Posts: 42521

« Reply #605 on: January 30, 2018, 08:11:28 AM »

By Heidi Vogt
Updated Jan. 29, 2018 4:12 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON—Lawmakers are moving to stanch the flow of U.S. technology to foreign investors, creating potential problems for a number of American companies that have bet big on partnering with China.

The Senate and House, with the backing of the White House, are working on bipartisan legislation to broaden the authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., a multi-agency body that has oversight of deals that could lead to the transfer of sensitive technology to rival countries. The current CFIUS statute doesn’t single out any country, but in recent years, the committee has often been focused on deals involving China.

Currently, CFIUS can recommend the president block foreign entities from buying majority stakes in U.S. companies; the new bill would let the committee make similar recommendations for deals involving minority investments and joint ventures, along with transactions that it determines involve “emerging technologies.”

The scope of the proposed legislation is broad. China requires foreign investors to form ventures with local partners, and Washington law firms say they are receiving a surge in inquiries over what it might mean for the large number of U.S. firms active in China. The country’s huge size has made it a market of interest for companies ranging from auto makers like General Motors Corp. , technology companies like Cisco Systems Inc. or other manufacturers like Caterpillar Inc. —all of which have local ventures in China.

It isn’t clear how broadly the new law would be enforced. For now, the most vocal corporate opponents are a handful of U.S. companies that have determined the new law might crimp business prospects by requiring companies to get the blessing of CFIUS for some joint ventures that involve shared U.S. technology.

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IBM Corp. , for instance, last year agreed with China’s Wanda Internet Technology to share the cloud computing technology used in its Watson artificial intelligence system. Behind the strategy is the belief that embedding IBM’s technology in China’s business infrastructure would steer Chinese customers toward IBM as they seek future growth.

Other large U.S. corporations, from  General Electric Co.  to  Microsoft Corp. , see China as a crucial market for similar reasons.

IBM, among others, has said the bill—known as the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act—would hurt U.S. companies’ ability to compete globally. “Foreign competitors that do not face similar regulatory restrictions will seize global market opportunities while American companies are left watching from the sidelines,” IBM’s vice president of government and regulatory affairs, Christopher Padilla, testified at a recent Senate hearing.

Supporters of the bill, who think it could be signed into law later this year, aren’t convinced. “I am concerned that some of the recent witnesses before the House and Senate have major financial conflicts of interest that prohibit an objective evaluation of the security threats we face,” Rep. Robert Pittenger (R., N.C.)—one of the drafters of the bill—said in an email.

“The business models for IBM, Microsoft, and GE, for example, have led to the transfer of military applicable technologies to China that have likely aided the modernization of the Chinese military and intelligence agencies,” said Mr. Pittenger. The bill’s supporters say it complements and strengthens export regulations rather than duplicating them.
Under ReviewThe number of transaction notices that CFIUShas reviewed in recent years.Source: Treasury DepartmentNote: 2017 figure is an estimate of nearly 240.

IBM and other opponents, while acknowledging national-security concerns, have suggested existing export controls to counter China rather than expanding the reach of CFIUS. IBM didn’t respond to requests for comment.

In an email, GE said while it supports the idea of changes to CFIUS, “it’s also important that any reform support America’s historical leadership in attracting foreign investment, not duplicate existing and well-established export control regimes, and preserve the ability of American companies to compete globally.” The company declined an interview. Microsoft declined to comment.

Several security experts say China has been sidestepping controls by taking minority stakes in U.S. technology companies or entering joint licensing ventures.

“There’s a very sophisticated and well-organized plan [by China] to acquire the technology and the reality is there are people here who want to sell it,” said William Reinsch, who was the Commerce Department’s undersecretary for export administration under President Bill Clinton.

And for many who have watched China easily avail itself of gaps in the CFIUS review process, the bill is the minimum that can be done in a fight that is likely to get much bigger. CFIUS blocked 10 deals between 2014 and 2016 over national-security concerns; China in recent years has accounted for the largest number of reviewed transactions.

“There’s a big trade war shootout coming up with China that I think, frankly, is overdue,” said Adm. Dennis Blair, co-chair of the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property and a former U.S. director of national intelligence. He said among the key technologies right now are those involving artificial intelligence, data mining and pattern recognition.
How Bill Would Broaden CFIUS’s Reach

    Expands CFIUS’s jurisdiction to partnerships where a foreign firm doesn’t have a controlling interest, such as joint ventures, minority investments and licensing deals.
    Adds ability to review real-estate purchases or leases near military bases or other sensitive U.S. government properties.
    Updates CFIUS’s definition of “critical technologies” to include emerging technologies that could be essential for maintaining U.S. technological advantage over countries that pose threats to national security.
    Makes a filing mandatory if the partnership involves a state-owned enterprise.
    Expands CFIUS’s ability to revisit earlier transactions.
    Specifies national-security factors for CFIUS to consider in its analyses.

Source: Proposed Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2017

Supporters point to recent deals that they say deserve greater scrutiny because they give China access to critical technology, such as Advanced Micro Devices Inc.’s 2016 joint venture with China’s Tianjin Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment Co., which gave the company access to technology similar to that used by  Intel Corp. in its chips. Tianjin Haiguang didn’t respond to requests for comment.

AMD spokesman Drew Prairie said in an email that “some commentators have mischaracterized” the venture and that AMD received a “U.S. government classification confirming that the technology was not restricted for export”—a reference to Commerce Department export controls. As for the CFIUS overhaul bill, Mr. Prairie said AMD supports strengthened security but wants to make sure it doesn’t have “unintended consequences.” Dawning Information Industry Co. , the largest shareholder of Tianjin Haiguang, didn’t respond to an email.

Many businesses are also supportive of the bill, including software maker Oracle Corp. , telecommunications firm Ericsson Inc., steelmaker Nucor Corp. and railroad-car-equipment maker  Greenbrier Co s. Many say an expanded CFIUS would set needed ground rules for working with Chinese firms.

Even openly supporting the bill, some companies worry, could expose them to problems—not in the U.S. but in China. They don’t want to be blocked from entering deals in China, or prevented from selling products in its booming economy.

“We’re quiet about our support because of fear of retaliation,” said an executive at a large U.S. technology company.

—Kersten Zhang and Ted Greenwald contributed to this article.
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