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U.S. Digging Itself into A Hole by Tech Bullying

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2023-01-05 11:07:36 | Author: Tang Zhexiao

Cambricon Technologies’s CEO Chen Tianshi introduces China's first cloud artificial intelligence (AI) chip MLU100 in Shanghai, east China. (PHOTO: XINHUA)

By Tang Zhexiao

As the technology tensions escalating recently, the U.S. has seen the country step up efforts to ban the use of TikTok, the popular video-sharing APP owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance. The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a legislation bill to ban the APP use on government-owned devices.

The bill, passed by the Senate earlier in December 2022, will be signed into law by President Joe Biden shortly, according to Nikkei Asia.

Though Washington underlined that its restrictions were in the interest of its national security, experts like Georgetown University law professor Anupam Chander said there wasn't any concrete evidence that American TikTok users have had their data shared, or that the Chinese government is utilizing that information for political gain.

Ryan Calo, professor of law and information science at the University of Washington, said in a National Public Radio report that the proposed legislation is more about geopolitical tensions and less about TikTok specifically.

In fact, the U.S. has been accelerating suppressing and decoupling China in terms of science and technology. The previous Trump administration had started the tech war against China in the fields of export and investment, and created barriers to sci-tech exchanges.

Since Biden came to power, a series of tech blockades such as restrictions on selling semiconductors and chip-making equipment to China and signing the CHIPS and Science Act which aims to curb China's sci-tech development came out one after another.

Behind these tech bullying policies is the U.S.'s fear of losing its global leadership in science and technology, as well as the monopoly in economic interests.

On the one hand, the U.S. is losing domination of global market. As an example, the global share of the U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, dropped from 37 percent in 1990 to about 12 percent in 2020.

On the other hand, with its development of science and technology in many fields, China has capturerd more and more orders and markets, and broken the U.S. dominant position of the global industrial chain.

"I think we're worrying about the wrong things," said Debra Ruh, CEO and Founder of Ruh Global IMPACT, noting that the U.S. thrust to remain No. 1 in everything is a dangerous geopolitical idea.

The Biden administration on December 15, 2022, added Chinese memory chipmaker YMTC and 21 Chinese entities in the artificial intelligence chip sector to a trade blacklist, broadening its crackdown on China's chip industry.

In the name of national security, the U.S. politicized sci-tech issues and advocated competition against China. The Chinese embassy in Washington said the U.S. was engaging in "blatant economic coercion and bullying in the field of technology," undermining normal business activities between Chinese and American companies and threatening the stability of global supply chains.

The arbitrary move would also hurt the interests of U.S. companies themselves, given that many have China as their largest market.

According to East Asia Forum, China comprises 27 percent of sales at Intel, 31 percent at Lam Research and 33 percent at Applied Materials. Both Applied Materials and Nvidia predicted the new export controls to cut 400 million USD from the fourth quarter's sales.

It is obvious that a forced decoupling from U.S. chip suppliers will encourage Chinese companies to speed up their own chip-making R&D, building an independent complete industrial chain faster.

Just as U.S. chip companies are concerned, the fact will be proved once again that tech blockading and bullying will eventually be a trap to the U.S. itself.

Editor: 汤哲枭

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