China Summons Tech Firms Over Huawei Blacklisting


Come into my office. Big name tech firms summoned by Chinese government after American ban

The Chinese government has reportedly summonsed big name tech firms to warn them against co-operating with the executive order signed by President Donald Trump.

The firms summoned by Chinese officials are said to include Microsoft and Dell from the United States, as well as Samsung and SK Hynix from South Korea, and ARM from the United Kingdom.

The move comes after an executive order issued by President Donald Trump in mid May, that declared a national security emergency against Chinese firms.

Chinese ‘talks’

Besides the issue of Huawei not being able to source US tech, almost immediately there were reports that American and other tech firms have instructed their staff to halt co-operation with Huawei.

Google for example has had a difficult relationship with China in the past, and it has now restricted Huawei’s access to future Android operating system updates, which could impact its ability to offer popular Google apps on its phones in the future

Into this mix, the New York Times reported at the weekend that Chinese government officials had last Tuesday and Wednesday, summoned tech firms to discuss the situation with them.

The summons comes after Beijing’s announced last week that it was assembling a list of “unreliable” companies and individuals.

Details about the meetings were shared by two people familiar with them to the New York Times. The sources asked not to be named because they were not authorised to discuss them and could face retribution.

It was reported that the meetings last week were led by China’s central economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, and attended by representatives from its Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

They reportedly addressed their remarks to a broad range of companies that export goods to China, and the involvement of three government bodies suggested likely approval from the very top of China’ leadership.

The intervention seemed designed to rally support for Huawei, although the company was not specifically mentioned, the two people said.

American firms were apparently warned that the Trump administration’s move to cut off Chinese companies from American technology had disrupted the global supply chain, and Chinese officials said that companies that followed the policy could face permanent consequences.

The Chinese authorities also hinted that firms should use lobbying to push back against the government’s moves.

Non-US firms were reportedly told that as long as they kept up their current relationships and continued to supply Chinese companies normally, they would face no adverse consequences.

The Chinese officials also stressed China’s commitment to open trade and its protections of intellectual property, according to the people familiar with the meetings.

One person with one US tech company in China who was briefed by colleagues on the company’s meeting told Reuters that the tone was “much softer” than expected.

“No mentioning of Huawei. No ultimatums. Just asked to stay in the country, contribute to the win-win negotiation,” the person said, declining to be identified by name or company given the sensitivity of the matter.

August deadline

Following Trump’s executive order, the US Commerce Department added Huawei and 70 affiliates to its so-called Entity List, which bans them from buying parts and components from US companies without US government approval.

That decision made it difficult, if not impossible, for Huawei, to sell some products because of its reliance on US suppliers for essential silicon and other components.

Just days later however the US Commerce Department announced a 90-day delay to the imposition of trade restrictions on Huawei, but the Chinese firm said that the extension didn’t ‘mean much’.

Huawei is therefore still allowed to buy US goods until 19 August.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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