Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Huawei Ban, and What This Means for Global Tech

Wazzup Pilipinas!

There is something that is called the global supply chain. and it has gained no more importance than in the tech sphere, where companies strongly rely on resources brought in from abroad and products distributed worldwide. It is simply the nature of the business - businesses’ web presence is global and most technologies serve the global customer. Therefore, the recent Huawei ban enacted by the U.S. Department of Commerce, which put the Chinese tech giant among the blacklisted trade companies due to security concerns for the country, has far more serious implications than just being a bidirectional trade face-off with political undertones.

The Interdependence of Huawei and U.S. Companies

In the simplest possible terms, the Huawei ban prevents U.S. companies from dealing with Huawei, and vice versa. This means that manufacturers and exporters that have relied on business deals with the Chinese producer of affordable smartphones will just have to find ways to pivot to new suppliers or face the consequences of not being able to serve their customers.

The same goes for Huawei, that was heavily dependent on U.S. manufacturers of semiconductors and software.

Immediately after the U.S. administration announced the ban, major companies such as Microsoft and Google reacted: -Microsoft stopped selling Huawei laptops, Qualcomm and Intel ceased operations, and Google has stopped Huawei from getting Android updates. Due to industrial espionage allegations for Huawei, even Chinese scientists have temporarily lost access to research materials from IEEE, which means that the ban started off surpassing trade war boundaries and stepping into questionable freedom of information policies.

Apple has also restricted membership for Huawei. It seemed no single important tech player was immune from shutting down before the Chinese behemoth, fearing penalties imposed by the U.S administration. However, after the initial standoff, the initial severe restrictions have eased off.

Specific companies have been allowed to do business with Huawei, including Google, that provided access to certain Play Store features to Huawei users.

European Market Handles Huawei Differently

However, trade relations are rarely that simple, and certainly not only bilateral. Major European companies depend on doing business with Huawei. Germany, for instance, has agreements with Huawei to collaborate in its 5G rollout, which is imminent, and Germany has no intention to stop this collaboration, provided the Chinese Company signs and adheres to a security clause. Also, not all UK companies are not on the same page, and many cheer for preserving the national interests, despite the ban order, and continuing the cooperation with Huawei if that brings good for the country.

What the Huawei Ban Means for Users, Android & iOS App Developers?

If the ban tightens further, mobile app development companies, including Android and iOS app developers will now have to adapt to either ruling out Huawei smartphones completely or expanding their skills to the new Harmony OS or Hongmeng, as it was initially named.
Harmony was recently announced as an independent move by the company to survive in an Android-less or iOS-less world.

Of course, it is almost out of the question for all mobile app developers to lose a major share of the market by not making apps for Huawei phone users, especially outside of the U.S. market.

The majority of Android and iOS app developers work in an interconnected market anyway. Most apps and other software products are borderless, and the reliance of staff overseas and a complicated global supply network of tech solutions play a major role in which projects will go forward for them.

Following Apple’s self-reliance example based on a vertically-integrated supply chain management and manufacturing system, Huawei looks it is coming as a fresh addition to a tech world dominated by U.S. companies. In a way, the ban could nudge Huawei to grow even stronger - after all, it is the among the world’s top three smartphone manufacturers in the world, as well as the owner of an advanced 5G technology, making it number one in sophisticated tech.

Despite the fact that few people own Huawei phones in the U.S, it has a huge supporting army of users which amasses to a third of the world’s population. If it is such a 5G leader as the reputation it follows it, Huawei will be a promising well of potential for everyone in the near future, including technology companies, and Android and iPhone app developers, turning over a new leaf in the distribution of power in global tech.

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