2019 May 18 - Huawei

This week I thought we'd take a break from Theresa May to discuss Huawei, the Chinese company with a name that people disagree on how to pronounce. A bit like when people disagree on whether it's "envelope" of 'on' velope or how about even something as simple as the letter H. If you want to reduce the cost of healthcare, I'd ban access to anyone who pronounces it the "en haich ess"

Anyway, Huawei, not to be mistaken for Hawaii. The company is supposedly independent of the Chinese government and has complete freedom, but so does a child who's given the choice between a red apple or a green apple (or straight to bed). And talking of Apples, the mobile phone industry is the heart of this upcoming technological and financial battle of 5G phone rollout: who has it, who profits from it, and who's intelligence services get to spy on it. For those struggling to keep up, the Chinese would like to have access to everything, and the US would like those rights to remain in California, and occasionally Langley Virgnia. The US has in the past couple of weeks made it pretty clear where it stands with the whole 'trading with China' issue and so if you're a tech company, you should avoid using Huawei products in much the same way that you or I avoid watching anything beyond first 5 seconds of a YouTube advert or anything beyond the penultimate season of Game of Thrones.

But speaking as someone who was too lazy to cook dinner earlier, sometimes buying in Chinese is irresistible, That's why the US Commerce Department just put Huawei on its Entity List, meaning American companies would need to obtain licenses to sell it critical components for its products and that could make it hard for Huawei to get the parts its needs. They've also told intelligence partners like the UK that they can do what they want but if they do, as has been suggested, allow Huawei into the UK then the CIA will cease sharing intelligence secrets with MI6. That means if the British government wants to learn about weapons facilities in Iran, they'll have to make time to tune in to live round the clock news broadcasts where John Bolton goes on tv and pushes for full scale regime change in Tehran, making W Bush seem lightweight and indecisive.

And all for the want of marginally faster internet when you're trying to get Netflix in the countryside. It's a complicated world we live in I guess, and makes you long for a quasi-romantic long since passed era when spies used to share briefcases in the park and the briefcases were actually just really large early mobile phones because Huawei hadn't started selling smartphones.
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