Isn’t it ironic for Chinese technology providers like TikTok and WeChat cry foul when the US President gave them a deadline to get their apps out of America or sell them over to tech company’s in the States, because if we can recall China until today hasn’t allowed Facebook or Google to operate in their country due to the same reasons.
Why should China raise its arms in dissent when the country does not play by the same game rules and expect others to adhere to international trade rules? China has been operating in a protected environment since joining the WTO, its never opened its doors entirely giving protectionism policy for Chinese companies and supporting them using state funds. Huawei, Alibaba, Tencent and Bytedance are all results of these programs, they get ample resources and are strategically build to expand out China. On the other hand foreign firms (American) interested to tap into the burgeoning middle class get much flak and unprecedented restriction by Beijing. Amazon business model has been copied by Alibaba, Facebook is basically RenRen, WhatsApp is WeChat, Baidu is just Google and the list goes on. There is no rules on copying, but by blocking the ripped-off platforms from entering the market and giving their doppelgangers to grow does not constituent fair play in any play book.
Donald Trump is just reciprocating, when the President accused China of stealing intellectual properties these are some of the instances he was referring to, its blatant and absurd. Could the Huawei’s and Alibaba’s grow to the size they are today, if there was no intervention by the Chinese Government? Did they wake up one morning and come with all these ideas or they just looked over to the West and said we will copy all that?
Do recall, Huawei started as a router company building low cost wifi and internet routers in the early 2000’s, during that same period European Union had the largest case of dumping by Chinese companies. Government agencies at that time opined that Chines manufacturers could price their hardware competitively due to the subsidy they were receiving from the government, this gave them an upper hand against Taiwan and Korean made products. A concept not accepted by WTO, but China was eager to lift its economy and pushed for this underarm tactics. This is another reason Trump called out his predecessors for not acting on China and blamed WTO for being too lame.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pro-Trump nor against China, but fair play is universal and should be respected equally by all parties. America is undoubtedly been ahead in its technology prowess and its understandable for the President to keep that status going, but having countries rip of ideas and then put up a trade wall for the same technology creators to operate in the country will not be defended by any leader.
China is no saint and should stop pretending to be the victim or being bullied, Trump knows exactly what he’s doing and many of the local tech giants support his actions. If China wants to be a true super power with no hidden agenda, it should play by the same rule everyone else is playing.