BY DAVID ONJILI
Maybe, just maybe, the Third World War will be a technological one and not in the conventional battlefields with heavy human casualties.
China and the United States of America seem to be at the heart of all this. China has denied American Internet giants; Google, the chance to provide services within their borders citing that they were protecting China’s security interests.
China’s Huawei is the second largest Smartphone maker behind South Korea’s Samsung. As at the first quarter of 2019 according to a report by Canalys research firm, Huawei controlled 23.34% of Smartphone shipments in Europe, Middle East and Africa besides having 32.9% of its Chinese market.
With Donald Tramp as America’s President, this dominance by Huawei was not going to sit pretty. It was only a matter of time. It was bound to blow up especially given his rhetoric of making America great again with emphasis on the world’s superpower coming first in every decision that mattered, be in world economics or geopolitics.
As such, the May 20 announcement that Google would cut off Huawei from future Android update services wasn’t shocking. The US Commerce Department gave Huawei a temporary 90-day reprieve to allow transactions necessary to maintain and support her existing cellular networks and handsets.
To abide by the 90-day directive, Google said in a statement that it would work with Huawei to provide security updates to its Android operating system only until the period is over. In what is turning out to be a battle between China and the rest of the world, German chip supplier Infineon, also announced that they would restrict business dealings with Huawei while Intel and Qualcomm have asked their employees to cease working with Huawei until further notice as reported by Bloomberg.
When Washington cut off China’s ZTE from the purchase of American components last year, the company went on its knees. The effects of Google’s move on Huawei though may be less adverse as their market share in Asia, Africa and Europe is quite substantial fueled by a combination of high tech and affordable pricing. Other phone companies also use Huawei technology for their base stations, wireless network hardware and antennas.
This battle, observers say, is all about the race to set up 5G (fifth generation) wireless communication networks.
Appearing on news channel CNBC, Henry, an IT specialist in the Silicon Valley noted, “President Xi of China is talking about Artificial Intelligence (AI), software and chips while the Trump administration lags behind in coal, oil and manufacturing. The US is losing out on this futuristic battle.”
Arthur Herman, a commentator on technology and specifically AI and quantum computing was clear in his analysis; America has been outpaced and outsold by Huawei whose dominance especially with regards to rolling out of the 5G networks is phenomenal going by the number of countries in which they have already signed up deals.
In a commentary with Forbes magazine, Herman sought to know why Huawei won these contracts despite accusations by T-Mobile of theft of intellectual property and theft of source codes from Cisco.
The future of wireless 5G networks looks very bright across the globe, from driverless cars, smart grids and AI-Supported phones. Governments too will need it especially the military in communication as well as access to data and networks. The Chinese seem to have been quietly laying ground for the future.
Onyango Onyango, a trained civil engineer working for a Nairobi based IT company says that Huawei have close to 30% of all 5G related patents and they are basically the engine in its rollout. Add to the fact that they are years ahead in forecast to their rivals and competitors, the fact that they have attracted both Germany and Britain who are erstwhile US allied, worries the Americans.
While at face value it is a Huawei versus Google affair, beneath is a battle for supremacy and a cold war between China and USA. Imperialists flexing their muscle in the new world order