Learn how to start a side hustle

Learn how to start a side hustle

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Learn how you could be raking in cash with a side gig.
Learn how you could be raking in cash with a side gig.

Image: pexels

By TEAM COMMERCEMashable Deals

Everyone seems to have a side hustle these days. But the million dollar question is: are they really making moves (and raking in the cash), or are they just talking some big game? Because some people are really just in the business of looking busy.

If you’re serious about being in the first category, check out The Complete Start A Side Business Bundle for some invaluable information on launching a bona fide side hustle with the cash flow to prove it.

This massive 12-course bundle will teach you how to get started building a bustling e-commerce business that earns money while you sleep. While the instruction focuses heavily on drop shipping and import businesses, you’ll also get supplementary courses on skills you can monetize ranging from blogging to live streaming your video game playtime (100% serious here). The entire bundle will only cost you $25, which you could earn back in minutes.

Here’s a lowdown on the courses included:

1. WordPress Aliexpress Drop Shipping Master Class

For the uninitiated: drop shipping is the process of selling products without holding any inventory whatsoever. Done right, it’s an effective way to make money in e-commerce without dealing with customer fulfillment logistics known to make grown humans cry. You’ll learn to put Aliexpress products on your WordPress site, make sales, and then let Aliexpress take care of the rest.

2. Alibaba Import Business Blueprint: Build Your Import Empire

This course shows you how to earn money on Alibaba — the world’s largest online global trade marketplace. Learn how to create generous profits by importing products factory direct and reselling them to customers: make successful transactions, navigate cultural differences, ensure product quality, and more.

3. Sell Your Services with Fiverr: Earn Extra Income with Simple Services

Ever heard of Fiverr? Here’s your intro: It’s a marketplace where people buy and sell services for, well, $5. Pretty straightforward. Learn to earn passive income by mastering the ins and outs of the Fiver site and pinpointing basic services you can sell with minimal time commitment or overhead.

4. Ebay for Profits: Make $2,000 a Month Drop Shipping Products

Ebay is still a gold mine of selling opportunities, and in this course you’ll learn to buy and resell wholesale products for a profit. Get insights on how to list wholesale inventory for free on ebay, then make sales and let the wholesaler handle the shipment to the customer. Boom: all profit, no pain.

5. How to Import from China – The Beginner’s Guide

Learn how to be a professional importer, using the Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) platform. You’ll learn from an instructor with over ten years of experience developing and sourcing new products for the world’s biggest retailers, after which you can utilize his tricks for yourself.

6. The Ultimate Guide to Selling Private Label Products

Learn private labeling and branding insights that will add massive value to the items you sell. You’ll master tricks used by the web’s biggest sellers, understand which products to add to your line, keep marketing costs low and conversions high, and more.

7. How to Make a Passive Income with an Amazon Affiliate Store

The general consensus is that Amazon runs the world. At least for e-commerce — and it’s easy to get started with an affiliate store on Amazon that works like your very own site. You’ll learn essentials ranging from SEO to social media marketing that will ensure the continued success of your burgeoning shop.

8. Introduction to Twitch TV Video Game Live Streaming

Video game spectating: it’s a thing. This course shows you how to build your own channel on Twitch TV, then broadcast your gameplay to an engaged audience.

9. Professional Blogging: A Step-by-Step Blueprint

Writers *can* make money, and this four-week course proves it. You’ll walk through everything from building your blog (WordPress site and all) to mastering marketing essentials for getting your content to the right audience. And of course, you’ll get the lowdown on ways to monetize your words.

10. Freelance Client Mastery

UpWork is one of the biggest freelance sites on the web, and this quick hour-long course shows you how to build a stellar profile there, then apply to jobs and land projects that will have you earning money for your craft in no time.

11. The Ultimate Online Course Creation Blueprint

Why not make money from your expertise? If you’ve got valuable knowledge to share, distill it into an online course or two — and earn money from eager students.

12. Work From Home: My $20,000 Per Month Amazon FBA MasterPlan

There are tons of resources for how to build an Amazon business, but this one is a no-BS course that gets straight to the point with all the skills you need to master selling on Amazon. You’ll learn how to increase brand exposure, boost traffic, and ultimately jack up your profits.

The Complete Start A Side Business Bundle is worth $1,995.20 in total, but grab it now for just $25.

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Huawei can technically survive without Android, but probably not very well – CNET

Huawei can technically survive without Android, but probably not very well – CNET

The US government may have banned Huawei from using any software or hardware created by American companies, but China’s massive phone maker is defiant that the lack of American partner support won’t break the brand, even if its traditionally Android-based devices are cut off from Android while Google cuts off business ties following President Trump’s executive order.

No stranger to tension with the US government, Huawei has proven that it doesn’t need US carriers in order to grow its business. Huawei is the world’s largest supplier of networking equipment and the second-largest phone brand. The tech giant has reportedly been working on its own operating system as an alternative to Android software (and its own Huawei app store) in case relations with US companies go south. And going south it is. Just today, Huawei was suspended from the Wi-Fi Alliance and removed from the SD Association, which set guidelines on the SD memory cards used in phones and other devices.

“Our company will not end up with an extreme supply shortage. We have got well prepared,” Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei said to Chinese journalists this week. “At the beginning of this year, I predicted that something like this would occur. … We thought we would have two years to make preparations. But when [Huawei CFO] Meng Wanzhou was arrested, it sparked everything off.”

This isn’t surprising. Huawei has been in the US government’s crosshairs for years, a de facto ban in 2012 (some might call it a strong urging) effectively keeping Huawei phones from US carriers despite previous relationships there.

But one look at the current smartphone market reveals how the company could fail if it tries to go it alone. Android and iOS form a duopoly, with 86% of all the world’s phones running on Android, according to IDC, about 14% running on iPhone’s iOS, and 0% running on any other platform.

The days when three, four and even five mobile operating systems fought for dominance are far behind us, and the last holdouts — Windows Phone, BlackBerry OS and WebOS — have long since crumpled or converted to Android.

Even rival Samsung, which poured money into its own open-source Tizen operating system (which you see on Samsung smartwatches like the Galaxy Watch Active), couldn’t make a meaningful dent. Huawei’s chances of creating a third OS will be most successful in its home country of China, where it sells 50% of 60% of its total phones (estimates vary by source).

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What is going on between Huawei and the US?


However, in markets outside of China, like Europe, Australia, the Middle East and Latin America, an OS that doesn’t fully support Android means that customers would have to say goodbye to mainstay services like Gmail, Google Maps and Google Assistant.

“The operating system is less of an immediate problem to Huawei than the absence of Google applications,” said Ben Wood, chief or research at CCS Insight, in a report on the situation. “There is no doubt that Huawei needs access to the full range of Google apps and services, which are essential to success in Western markets.”

Temporarily loosened restrictions mean that Huawei and Google can still work together to keep current Huawei Android phones like the Huawei P30 Pro supplied with security updates and Google’s Android services through Aug. 19, but losing Google’s Android support for future phones could spell disaster for Huawei’s business and impact the global smartphone market as a whole.

“We expect trade wars threaten a potential 5% decline in global mobile phone shipments in 2019,” Wood said.

Read: Everything you need to know about the Huawei controversy

Huawei doesn’t need Android, but the alternatives wouldn’t be easy

Huawei phones in China already operate without Google apps and services, though Android lays the foundation. Google search and other software services are blocked in China. Even on Android-based phones there, Google Play Services and other apps won’t work. 

That means Huawei phones in its home market already use alternative apps and software for maps, mail and videos — there’s no Google Maps, Google Search, Google Assistant, Gmail or YouTube. Security services like Google Play Protect and software that synchronizes contacts and offline services also get the ouster.

Even on Huawei and Honor phones that do sell outside China, Huawei, like many brands, uses a house-made UI. In Huawei’s case, the Emotion UI (EMUI) lays out icons across home screens, making the software interface look more like iOS than Android in some respects.

If these devices already operate under their own set of rules, it’s easy to see how Huawei could rip off the Band-Aid and go it alone. Ren said that Huawei has between 80,000 and 90,000 R&D engineers across the company, some of which are preparing for “Plan B” or, as the CEO called them, “spare tires.”

“I am not sure consumers want a third OS,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Creative Strategies. “It certainly would not help in the US but it could make a difference in Europe as long as they get developers to port and they still can get Google services, which I think is the trickiest part.”

Even if Huawei were to go forward, a Huawei OS is “far from ready,” The Information reported. The internal software project “has had its ups and downs and remains far from ready,” sources told the publication.

On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Huawei had received the trademark “Hongmeng” for its OS from the Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration, after working on it under the internal code name “Project Z.”

Still, it’s unlikely Huawei would have an immediate replacement if the US government’s ban continues against future phones.

What about foldable phones?

Google support also has a hand in foldable phones. Huawei didn’t announce which operating system it uses on the foldable Mate X that’s slated for a summer release, but Google has been working closely with foldable phone makers, supplying software that helps apps move quickly from a smaller screen orientation to the larger screen, when unfolded, and back again. 

It isn’t clear if being cut off from Google would delay Huawei’s ability to compete with Samsung on this next front of smartphone competition.

Samsung declined to comment.

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The open-source option doesn’t solve Huawei’s app problem

Huawei could of course continue to base phones on Android even without Google’s active partnership. AOSP, the Android Open Source Project, is free code for anyone to use. But going this route would put Huawei months behind. By losing early access to new OS builds like Android Q, regular security patches and technical support.

Remember that the US Commerce Department scaled back some restrictions to allow Android support for existing Huawei and Honor brand phones. It’s those future phones — like the Huawei Mate 30 or P40 Pro — that hang in the balance here.

“There are workarounds for those international markets but none that are attractive since Google services are so ubiquitous,” said Wayne Lam, principal analyst at IHS Markit. “One thought is that Huawei can leave the boot loader unlocked and provide tools for point of sales person/techs to re-flashing of the ROM to circumvent the Google brand, but that has challenges on its own.”


The Huawei P30 Pro has stronger camera tools than Samsung’s Galaxy S10 Plus.

Angela Lang/CNET

If global buyers of future Huawei phones would have to side-load apps and games from US companies rather than download them directly from any app store, even Huawei’s, there’s little doubt that would turn off customers who ultimately left Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS because they couldn’t supply the apps and services that Android and iOS could.

“There are so many hoops to jump and so much uncertainty for a consumer who, at the end of the day, has alternatives,” Milanesi said.

It’s likely that without Google’s app store and services, Huawei customers outside of China would move on.

Read: Huawei’s troubles are good for Samsung

Will we even get to this point?

There’s a chance China and the US government will resolve the issue before it comes to a head. President Trump has already said he’d consider using Huawei as leverage in a trade deal with China, which means that Huawei could be allowed to reunite with its old business pals.

The US government has already softened its stance to protect consumers who own Huawei phones. Chinese brand ZTE was similarly cut off from its US suppliers in 2018, only to get bailed out by Trump in a tweet when its business ground to a halt.

“The objective of the Trump administration is to exact concessions from China on trade — especially their handling of IP,” Lam said. “Whether or not the Trump administration can pull this off is suspect but given that next year is an election year, I would anticipate this trade conflict to be resolved within the near future.”

“Huawei is doubtless hoping for a speedy return to business as usual,” Wood said.

Huawei didn’t comment for this story.

Originally posted May 23 at 9:28 a.m. PT.

Update, 12:29 p.m. PT: Adds that Huawei and Samsung declined to comment.

Update May 24 at 6:21 a.m. PT: Adds report about the Hongmeng trademark.

Update, May 24 at 11:24 a.m. PT: Adds report about being removed from the Wi-Fi Alliance and SD Association.

Update, May 25 at 4 a.m. PT:

Adds report about leverage in the China trade deal.

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Several chip companies, including Qualcomm and Intel, have reportedly stopped supplying Huawei after blacklist

Several chip companies, including Qualcomm and Intel, have reportedly stopped supplying Huawei after blacklist

Several key suppliers are reportedly cutting off Huawei after the Trump administration added the Chinese telecom equipment and smartphone giant to a trade blacklist last week. According to Bloomberg, semiconductor companies Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx and Broadcom will no longer supply Huawei until further notice. This follows another report earlier today that Google has suspended some trade with Huawei, leaving it with access only to the open-source version of Android.

In addition to impacting Huawei’s business, the blacklisting has ramifications for telecom providers who are getting ready to launch 5G networks. In China, the three big telecoms (China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom), which are all heavily reliant on Huawei, may be forced to delay 5G rollout. Meanwhile, U.S. carriers, especially smaller ones, may have to spend millions of dollars replacing Huawei equipment they have already installed or looking for new suppliers.

In tweet last week from the account Huawei Facts, the company called the blacklist a “lose-lose” situation. In a more recent tweet, it said “Oops! The U.S. is already coming to its senses over a ban on #Huawei, with a government official admitting that it cannot distance itself from the tech giant as easily as it might like. #HuaweiFacts” in response to a report that the administration might grant Huawei a temporary license to prevent service interruptions.

Oops! The U.S. is already coming to its senses over a ban on #Huawei, with a government official admitting that it cannot distance itself from the tech giant as easily as it might like. #HuaweiFacts https://t.co/qeiencw8ny

— Huawei Facts (@HuaweiFacts) May 19, 2019

Meanwhile, Google’s ban, first reported by Reuters, would give Huawei, the second-largest smartphone brand in the world after Samsung, access only to open-source version of Android, leaving it with a significant disadvantage to other handset makers.

According to Bloomberg, Huawei stockpiled three months worth of chips in anticipation of action by the U.S. government, which it has been at odds with since a 2012 Congressional report deemed it a potential threat to national security (accusations the company has repeatedly denied).

A Xilinx spokesperson told TechCrunch “We are aware of the Denial Order issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce with respect to Huawei, and we are cooperating. We have no additional information to share at this time.” Huawei spokesperson said the company has no comment. TechCrunch has also contacted Broadcom, Qualcomm and Intel for comment.

Update: In a statement, a Huawei spokeperson said “Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry. Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally. We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”

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Business this week

Business this week

China said it would increase tariffs on a range of American goods. This was in retaliation for Donald Trump’s decision to raise duties on $200bn-worth of Chinese exports following the breakdown of talks that had tried to end the two countries’ stand-off over trade. In addition, American officials said they were seeking to extend levies to all remaining Chinese imports to the United States. Both sides are holding off on imposing their punishing tariffs for a few weeks, giving negotiators more time to try to end the impasse. Even if there is a deal, it is unlikely to reduce tensions between the two powers over trade, and other matters. See article.

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The transfer of technology is another contentious issue for China and America. A few days after the collapse of the trade talks, Mr Trump and the Commerce Department signed orders blocking Huawei, a Chinese tech giant, from involvement with American mobile networks and suppliers. America has pressed its allies to shun the firm, citing security worries, but has had only limited success. See article.

The Chinese economy may be slowing more than had been thought, according to new data. China’s retail sales grew at their slowest rate in 16 years in April. Industrial production expanded by 5.4%, the slowest rate in a decade.

Germany’s economy grew by 0.4% in the first three months of the year compared with the previous quarter. That brought some relief for the government following a six-month period when the country almost slipped into recession. Officials warned that global trade rows could still knock the economy off course. In Britain, GDP rose by 0.5% in the first quarter, helped by businesses stockpiling goods ahead of the now-missed Brexit deadline of March 29th.

Bayer lost a third court case in America brought by plaintiffs claiming that a weedkiller made by Monsanto, which Bayer took over last year, caused their cancer. This time the jury ordered the German conglomerate to pay $2bn in damages to an elderly couple, a sum far greater than that awarded to the plaintiffs in two previous trials. Bayer’s share price plunged.

Officials in San Francisco voted to make it the first American city to ban the use of facial recognition software by the local government. Legislators worry that the technology, which is spreading rapidly, is unreliable and open to abuse.

What’s up?

WhatsApp, a popular encrypted-messaging app owned by Facebook, reported a security flaw that allows hackers to install surveillance software on smartphones by placing calls in the app. It was reported that a team of Israeli hackers-for-hire had used the vulnerability to inject spyware onto phones belonging to human-rights activists and lawyers.

America’s Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for iPhone users to sue Apple. The case centres on whether Apple’s App Store, which takes a 30% cut of all sales, constitutes an unfair monopoly. Unlike Android-based rivals, Apple’s phones are designed to prevent users from installing apps from other sources.

Thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel abandoned a plan to merge their European steel assets because of stiff resistance from the EU’s antitrust regulator. Pushed by activist investors demanding reform at Thyssenkrupp, the proposal had been announced in September 2017. The German company will now spin off its lifts division, its most profitable business.

British Steel told the British government that it needs more state aid because of “uncertainties around Brexit”. That is in addition to the £100m ($130m) loan from the government the company had recently secured to pay its EU carbon bill. A no-deal Brexit would hit British Steel hard, subjecting it to 20% tariffs under WTO rules.

Global investment in renewables has stalled, according to the International Energy Agency, taking the world further away from meeting the goals of the Paris agreement on climate change. This is aggravated by the continued expansion of spending on coal-fired power plants, especially in Asia. Investment in coalmining rose by 2.6% in 2018. By contrast, growth in new renewable installations was flat for the first time since 2001.

Taken for a ride

The most eagerly awaited stockmarket flotation in years turned out to be a damp squib. Uber priced its IPO at $45 a share, the low end of the offer’s price range, which did little to entice investors. The stock closed 8% down on the first day of trading, valuing the company at $70bn, well below most expectations. Optimists pointed to the experience of Facebook, which, despite a poor IPO and share price that sagged for months, eventually became one of the world’s most valuable companies. Pessimists said Uber’s ride-hailing business will struggle to make sustainable profits.

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Asia stocks slip, bonds rally on fear China-U.S. trade deal could unravel – Investing.com

Asia stocks slip, bonds rally on fear China-U.S. trade deal could unravel – Investing.com

© Reuters. The German share price index, DAX board, is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt
© Reuters. The German share price index, DAX board, is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

By Virginia Furness

LONDON (Reuters) – World shares held near five-week lows on Wednesday as renewed trade tensions and fears for the global economy drove investors into the safety of bonds and the Japanese yen, with the latter rising to a six-week high against the dollar.

European shares inched higher in an effort to shake off the gloom of dismal session in Asia and sharp slides on Wall Street, where the trade-sensitive industrial and technology sectors were hit especially hard by fears that a potential trade deal between the United States and China could unravel.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is due to visit Washington on Thursday and Friday for trade talks in a last-ditch bid to avert a sharp increase in tariffs on Chinese goods ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump.

MSCI’s Asia-Pacific share index excluding Japan, fell almost one percent to touch its lowest level since late-March, while the pan-European EuroStoxx index was flat, clawing its way back from multi-week lows.

Markets are on tenterhooks given the importance of the talks to world growth, especially given the mixed nature of recent economic data from China.

“I think it’s a major risk that Trump raises tariffs,” said Christophe Barraud, chief strategist at the Market Securities brokerage in Paris.

“If that happens we can imagine that negotiations will break down, implying another few months of uncertainty… All-in all, bonds as well as other safe-havens such as yen, look set to benefit from this situation in the short-term.”

Adding to market jitters was Chinese trade data showing solid imports but an unexpected fall in April exports. The numbers follow lackluster economic data in Europe and signs of steep inventory build-ups in the United States.

“Chinese exports were negative which suggests the world economy remains weak,” Barraud said noting that the latest manufacturing surveys had painted a subdued picture of new export orders worldwide.

“As we saw with New Zealand today, central banks will remain tilted to the dovish side. They are trying to buy some kind of insurance against negative shocks.”


New Zealand became the first country in the developed world to cut interest rates since the Fed turned tail on policy earlier this year, though other central banks, from Sweden to Canada have hinted at policy easing.

New Zealand’s central bank governor Adrian Orr cited the U.S.-China trade dispute as a major risk for his country’s economy.

The decision pushed the dollar to a six-month low, while government bonds jumped, sending yields 5-7 basis points lower across the curve.

On currency markets, investors’ demand for safe-havens boosted the Japanese yen which firmed 0.2 percent against the dollar at 110.07 yen, taking its gains to more than 1 percent this month.

Bonds too have benefited from the worries for growth and trade, with 10-year yields on U.S. Treasuries, German bunds and Japanese government bonds (JGBs) languishing at near one-month lows.

Germany’s 10-year government bond yield, the benchmark for the bloc, hovered near five-week lows at -0.04 percent, not far from the 2-1/2 year low of -0.094 percent while Japan’s 10-year yield burrowed deeper into negative territory and last stood at minus 0.055 percent.

There are concerns also for Germany, the euro zone’s largest economy. While industrial output rose unexpectedly in March, the economy ministry warned that the outlook remained subdued.

The data also follows weak industrial orders figures, and a downward revision of euro zone growth by the European Commission . All that reinforces a weak backdrop for the euro zone economy and a perception that the European Central Bank will keep rates at record low levels for longer than expected.

While the growth gloom can be expected to weigh on commodity prices, oil prices were bolstered by U.S. sanctions on crude exporters Iran and Venezuela, supply cuts by producers and data showing a surge in Chinese crude imports,

futures at $70.31 per barrel, 43 cents, or 0.6 percent above their last close.

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The Trade Desk hires Jonathan Carson as its first CRO

The Trade Desk hires Jonathan Carson as its first CRO

Adtech company The Trade Desk is announcing that it’s hired its very first chief revenue officer, Jonathan Carson.

Carson’s past roles include serving as president of Mic, chief revenue officer at Vevo and CEO of digital for Nielsen.

He told me he was excited to join The Trade Desk because it’s “a spectacular story” of “a relatively young company that has grown to scale remarkably quickly.” (It was founded in 2009 and in its most recent quarter grew revenue 41% year-over-year, to $121 million.)

“If you look at the mission of The Trade Desk, it’s essentially to fund media, and if you look at what that really means, it’s the journalism, the pop culture, the music that we all love,” Carson said. “It was built to make the economics of those individual creators and the companies … feasible, and to help them thrive in a moment where digital media has turned a lot of those business models inside out.”

By coming on as The Trade Desk’s first CRO, Carson said his role will be serving as the member of the executive team who’s “singularly focused” on driving revenue growth. And he pointed to two “really big growth levers” that the company is focused on currently — video and connected TV, and international growth, particularly in China, where the company launched its programmatic ad platform in March.

We are thrilled to add Jonathan’s deep experience in digital media to our executive leadership team as we continue our rapid growth,” said Trade Desk founder and CEO Jeff Green in a statement. “Jonathan’s focus on revenue generation and client acquisition will help us continue to gain share in the global digital advertising market, including new channels such as Connected TV, and massive emerging consumer markets, such as China.”

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The New New World: As Huawei Loses Google, the U.S.-China Tech Cold War Gets Its Iron Curtain

The New New World: As Huawei Loses Google, the U.S.-China Tech Cold War Gets Its Iron Curtain

The New New World

The White House’s hard-line approach threatens to speed up the development of two technology worlds, further isolating one-fifth of internet users.


Google on Monday began to limit the software services it provides to Huawei, the telecommunications giant, after a White House order last week restricted the Chinese company’s access to American technology.CreditCreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

China has spent nearly two decades building a digital wall between itself and the rest of the world, a one-way barrier designed to keep out foreign companies like Facebook and Google while allowing Chinese rivals to leave home and expand across the world.

Now President Trump is sealing up that wall from the other side.

Google said on Monday that it would limit the software services it provides to Huawei, the telecommunications giant, after a White House order last week restricted the Chinese company’s access to American technology. Google’s software powers Huawei’s smartphones, and its apps come preloaded on the devices Huawei sells around the world. Depending on how the White House’s order is carried out, that could come to a stop.

For Huawei, the big impact will be abroad, since Chinese customers already have limited access to Google’s services. Google’s move will have its biggest effect in places like Europe, where it has emerged as a big smartphone seller. Other companies will inevitably follow. In effect, the move puts pressure on Huawei’s international expansion dreams.

If China and the United States have begun a technological Cold War, then the Huawei order can best be seen as the beginnings of a digital Iron Curtain. In this potential vision of the future of technology, China will continue to keep out much of the world. The United States and many other countries, goes this thinking, will in turn block Chinese technology.

The tougher American stance is closing off many of the ways that the United States and China exchanged ideas and did business despite the strict Chinese censorship regime. Those closed doors could have profound effects not only on the business of technology, but also on how the world will use and understand the devices and services of the future.

Already, China’s censorship and tight control of its citizens’ digital lives have effectively isolated one-fifth of the world’s internet-using population, giving rise to a generation that doesn’t know what it means to Google something or to subscribe to a YouTube channel.

The aggressive new stance by the United States will only speed up that process, opening a potential window to a day when Chinese people can use only Chinese phones and gadgets powered by homegrown chips and software. All this is happening with a speed that has shocked many in China.

“The move by the Trump administration is much more comprehensive than many Chinese expected,” said Nicole Peng, an analyst at technology research firm Canalys. “It also came much earlier. Many people only realize now that it’s for real.”

It is far from clear whether the Trump administration’s moves will truly isolate Huawei from the rest of the world. The White House has struggled to persuade other countries to stop buying Huawei’s telecommunications equipment, citing potential espionage concerns. (Huawei denies that it spies for the Chinese government.) Huawei has already developed its own chips and other capabilities, and has said that it has stockpiled equipment for a day when it would lose access to American know-how and equipment.


Google’s software powers Huawei’s smartphones, and its apps come preloaded on the devices that Huawei sells around the world. Depending on how the White House order is carried out, that could stop.CreditAly Song/Reuters

China has ways it could retaliate. On Monday, China’s state media reported that Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, visited a site that mines and processes rare earths, which are essential minerals for a number of manufacturers in low-carbon technologies. His visit was a none-too-subtle reminder that China has a commanding presence in rare earths and could shut off global supplies — something it has done once before.

The digital Iron Curtain has been long in the making. From its earliest days dealing with the internet, the Chinese government has squelched content it didn’t like. Today, the Chinese internet at first glance doesn’t look much like the one the rest of the world uses. It has different platforms, ideals and business strategies, all tended carefully by censors.

But the wall was mostly one-sided. American chips and software power Chinese servers and mainframes. China has been a big revenue driver for Apple, Oracle, Intel, Qualcomm and other big names in tech. Much of this was by necessity, since China couldn’t make all this stuff itself, but it still gave American companies a role in the direction of the Chinese digital future.

The ties go deeper. Many of the founders of China’s most successful technology companies were educated in the United States. American investors helped them get established, and some of those Chinese companies turned around and invested in American companies. Academics from the two countries regularly teamed up and swapped notes.

Now the United States, concerned about securing intellectual property, is working to block some of those channels. It has tightened limits on Chinese investment in American companies. Some Chinese students who focused on science and technology have had problems getting visas to the United States. Some Chinese scholars have had their American visas revoked over spying fears.

With the Huawei limits, the Trump administration cited safety. The Commerce Department announced last week that it had placed Huawei and its dozens of affiliates on a list of firms deemed a risk to national security. The listing will prevent Huawei from buying American parts and technologies without seeking United States government approval.

The executive order, issued after trade talks with China collapsed this month, could ripple through all parts of Huawei’s business. It has said American suppliers account for nearly one-fifth of its procurement spending. Even small parts could be crucial. Nobody wants to buy a high-end Huawei router that is only 95 percent complete.

But in international expansion, companies like Google give Huawei a common platform for customers outside China. Its phones come loaded with Google Play, the app and media store, as well as popular apps like Gmail and YouTube. Its license to use Android gives Huawei access to security updates and new features.

Without Google’s cooperation, Huawei would have to come up with its own version of Android or use its own homegrown operating system. Many customers in places like Europe would rather not deal with that fuss. China has been trying to build its own operating systems over the past three decades but has not had much success.

In China, many people see the American moves as a naked ploy to stop a rising Chinese competitor. The United States can’t beat Huawei’s innovation and moxie, goes this thinking, so it will use the power of government to keep a Chinese rival down.

Others in China point to the country’s own barriers against competitors as a strategy that was going to provoke retaliation sooner or later. At some point, the United States was bound to use reciprocity in dealing with a closed Chinese internet market. One popular blog post explained that reciprocity has been translated into “mutual benefit” in Chinese, which explains why many in China didn’t understand that the idea could be used in retaliation.

Another popular blog post drives the point even more clearly.

“You’ve been opposing the U.S. for many years,” said the headline. “You should be long prepared that the U.S. will oppose you one day.”

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How China Is Upending Western Marketing Practices

How China Is Upending Western Marketing Practices

Kimberly Whitler, assistant professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, believes the days of transplanting well-worn Western marketing practices into national markets may be numbered. She has researched marketing campaigns in China and finds they are faster, cheaper, and often more effective than traditional Western ones. Moreover, she argues they may be better suited to today’s global marketplace. Whitler is the author of the HBR article “What Western Marketers Can Learn from China.”

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CURT NICKISCH: Welcome to the HBR IdeaCast from Harvard Business Review. I’m Curt Nickisch.

For decades, marketing theory and practice have been defined and refined in the West, from the four Ps taught in MBA programs to the sophisticated brand management run by multinational corporations.

That’s the world of marketing that today’s guest started out in. Kim Whitler worked for Procter & Gamble. She successfully pushed soap brands in Eastern Europe and also worked in China in the 1990s, when the market was rapidly evolving.

Now Whitler is a marketing professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. She recently returned to China to do research. And what she learned in her interviews there surprised her.

She says Chinese marketing campaigns are faster, cheaper, and often more effective than traditional Western ones. And Whitler believes in some ways they are better suited to today’s global marketplace.

She wrote about this in her article in Harvard Business Review, “What Western Marketers Can Learn from China.”

Kim, thanks for being here to talk about your research.

KIM WHITLER: Well, thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

CURT NICKISCH: So, when did you realize that U.S. companies were going about marketing in China the wrong way?

KIM WHITLER: So, I had been doing research on CMOs in the U.S. and I had the opportunity to go to China and to do the same type of research about marketing and CMOs in China, CEOs and CMOs, both from multinational firms working, operating in China, as well as from indigenous firms.

And probably by the end of the first day, I started seeing a pattern that was very different. I expected to hear a lot of similar issues that I hear in the U.S., and I didn’t. And there were, there were a lot of things that I was observing.

For example, the multinational companies seemed to have this gray cloud over them. As somebody who’s done a lot of qualitative research, sometimes it’s not what people say, it’s how they’re saying it.

And there was an energy and an excitement from those who were Chinese-based companies, There’s really no good way for me to say it, other than I felt energy and positivity from the Chinese companies, and I started seeing that there was a malaise, and almost like they were operating in a way that was, that was preventing them from being competitive.

CURT NICKISCH: When you say malaise, this is what you saw at multinational companies?


CURT NICKISCH: Yeah. And it’s always been the case that multinational companies tailor their marketing to local markets or regional markets. Is it the fact that China is just so big that it’s, localizing it means that it writes its own rules, or do you think that something fundamentally different is going on here?

KIM WHITLER: First, the structure of the market, the way that the market has evolved, is fundamentally different. So, they have these enormous conglomerates, the Baidus, Alibabas, the Tencents – these enormous conglomerates; it’s like the equivalent of putting B of A, Wall Street Journal, Google, Twitter, Activision, CNN, ESPN, all in a single company.

So they have a different market structure. That market structure leads to a very different mindset. So what I started observing is that what works in the West doesn’t necessarily work in China. The market is different, the tools in some ways are different, the way that they think is different.

And so, then the competencies that they’re building are different. In the U.S., we grew up with billboards and radio, and then one day we had TV, and, I’m sorry we had newspapers too in the early era. And then one day we had TV, and we had three channels. And then pretty soon we had a lot of different channels. Then we had digital, and all this transpired over decades and decades. China didn’t grow up that way. They grew up very quickly, went to a mobile-first kind of platform, where the consumers spend almost all of their time on their phones.

CURT NICKISCH: I was amazed to read in your research that Chinese consumers spend twice as much time on phones as U.S. consumers do – seven hours or something like that, looking at their phones in a day?

KIM WHITLER: Well yes, and then this comes back to the notion of the structure of the market because there’s research done that shows that about 55 percent of the average consumer’s time is spent just on Tencent properties.

Think about, I flip from Twitter to Google, to CNN, to ESPN, to banking, to Wall Street Journal, to gaming. And they have all of that under one umbrella. So, we worry here in the U.S. about privacy and about the power and the type of data that just a Google has. Or just a B of A. Or just a Wall Street Journal.

Imagine when all of that is combined under one ecosystem. It’s a double-edged sword. On one side, you have all sorts of privacy concerns. But on the other side, you have so much greater insight into the consumer. You’re able to build better products, you’re able to create better engagement with the consumer because you know a lot more about them.

And so the power to create better marketing programs is far greater. And so the challenge is, is if you’ve grown up in a Western world, and that’s the way in which you think, we tend to think in a channel-centric model. So, you’ll have an organization where you’ll have a digital group, and then you’ll have an email group, and you’ll have a TV group, and you’ll have radio, and so you have all these different channels.

The marketers in China are not thinking this way. They’re thinking first about the consumer because their consumer connections are all connected. So the way in which they think about marketing is different.

CURT NICKISCH: So, part of it is because of the leapfrogging into a mobile-first economy. I also wonder just how much has to do with size – the number of consumers, the number of businesses, it’s almost like you add an extra zero at the end, another order of magnitude, and there’s so many more experiments and things going on, and also noise that you have to break through if you want to reach consumers, too. So, I just – how much does the size of the market influence what, what’s happening here?

KIM WHITLER: I think it gets a lot of attention because of the size. It’s so important globally, and when I worked in Eastern Europe, we were at the time, one of the world’s most competitive laundry detergent markets. We had all of the big global players competing for market share in the same space.

When you have such a competitive marketplace like that, you get the best from all over the world, you get money, and so speed is fundamentally paramount, and I think this is one of the – I had, I was interviewing the CEO of Google China, and he said the pace at which they move in China is intimidating.

I think in the West, we’d be surprised to have somebody from Google talk about the pace being intimidating, but it is. The way in which they operate, they recognize that speed means dollars, and in many cases, for the large multinationals that have been focused for decades on driving efficiency and scale, they have not been focused on speed. In fact, the way in which they operate is the opposite of speed.

CURT NICKISCH: Yeah, they plan ahead for, by season, and yeah, years in advance for big sporting events, or whatever, right?

KIM WHITLER: Yeah. I was, there’s a really interesting story. I was talking with the head of marketing for Visa – Greater China, and she had worked extensively in the U.S. for companies like PepsiCo, Ghirardelli Chocolate, McKinsey, and Unilever, and she said let me give you an example of how this works. She said, in my previous CPG jobs – CPG being consumer packaged goods jobs – in the U.S., she said we would sit down with Walmart one to two years in advance, and we’d think about what seasonal promotion we’d want to have way off in the future.

Most of the time, we’d think about what type of promotion, dollars and cents promotion, location in the store promotion, could we create to drive volume? She said what the Chinese would do instead is that they would think about creating seamless content across multiple platforms that were temporally relevant. And what she meant was, that would be relevant in two weeks. That’s relevant right now.

So, they create, they co-create consent, and they would try to air the content immediately. And so, all of a sudden, you see this planning, plotting, methodical, we’ve got to do things in two or three years, competing with a system where they recognize that if I know what’s happening next week, and I build systems that are really agile and really fast, then I can actually be, I can potentially win.

When you look at China versus the Western mindset, the Western mindset has been really around scale and efficiency. Be slow, risk-averse, create systems, reduce from five plants to one plant, create one global product platform, and the China system is a growth mindset. How quickly can we grow our market share? And these two contrasting approaches are colliding.

CURT NICKISCH: Yeah. And when you say colliding, it really makes it sound like a lot of multinationals or Western companies are losing, then, if that’s how Chinese consumers respond?

KIM WHITLER: So, I would answer it this way. One is that in some cases, the Western company loses out. For example, Uber. Because they’re not as fast to expand or to move, and so that prevents them from being able to compete when speed is paramount.

One of the CEOs made a very good point. He said look, right now in China, you have to end up being one of the largest one or two brands in a category in order to ensure funding. And so again, this comes back to the structure of the market is creating a mindset that then creates a capability, and the capability that they’re building is one of speed, one where they can move quickly, where process isn’t paralysis, but where they build agile processes that enable them to be adaptive and to be quicker in reacting to or making changes as necessary.

CURT NICKISCH: So, let’s talk a little about what Western companies should do, with this in mind, with your insights in mind, what should they be thinking about? What should they be shooting to do, and how should they do things differently?

KIM WHITLER: If it were me, if I were building an organization, I would want somebody who has this sort of expertise from China. I would want to add them to my team. Because let me give you an example. All right? So, I was, I was doing a session with a group of students here at Darden, as our MBA students are, they come from all over the world, and I asked them a question.

I said: here’s your job. You have to come up with some way to drive growth, but you cannot use TV, radio, billboards, digital, traditional media, any of those vehicles. So, you can’t use any promotions, you can’t use any advertising through digital or traditional means. How would you drive growth?

And here’s what happened. My Chinese students’ hands immediately shot up. Those from the West kind of looked around, they were trying to think, that’s a hard question because we’ve grown up in a system and a structure, that has us thinking first about advertising and about promotions. And when I asked the Chinese students, they immediately go to KOLs.


KIM WHITLER: Key opinion leaders. They said, you immediately go find the influencers in the marketplace, and you find a way to engage with them. Or they say, how can I go create engaging content? How can I create stories? How can I create books? Or how can I create games? How can I go create content that consumers want to engage with and partner with my brand? They naturally think that direction, where we are not necessarily trained to do that. So what I would do, if I were building an organization, is to hire that capability so I could infuse it within my team.

CURT NICKISCH: And then it sounds like due to the fact that a couple of these companies – Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent – are so massive in their scope and reach that there’s no way around them. It sounds like you need to go through them to get to customers.

KIM WHITLER: Yeah. One of the things that surprised me, I was interviewing an executive from Tencent, and as all of these pieces were coming together, it reminded me back in the 1980s and 1990s of what the P&Gs and Unilevers of the world did with Walmart.

We knew that the power was shifting from the manufacturer to the retailer. And so all of a sudden, the Procters of the world starting collocating teams down at Walmart. They had all this data on the consumer, we had a lot of analytical horsepower, but we didn’t have the data.

And so we partnered to try to glean insights from the data that would benefit Walmart and benefit Procter & Gamble. And so, it seemed obvious, when I started listening to what was happening, I asked this executive from Tencent, I said: how many companies are collocating with you? The nature of the data they have far exceeds anything that Walmart has.


KIM WHITLER: He said: The potential is unlimited, but we’re just beginning to start doing this type of work. Many of the multinationals have not, have not yet moved fully into that model.

CURT NICKISCH: Gotcha. Have you seen a Western company do this successfully?

KIM WHITLER: Yeah. So, that’s exactly what I asked them, and a couple of the examples that they used were BMW and McDonald’s. McDonald’s really did one of the most integrated across platform programs with Tencent and is kind of a pioneer and a bit of a leader on this front. They’ve done a nice job.

BMW also started collaborating directly with Tencent, again in collaboration with their agencies, but rather than working through their agencies and counting on their agencies to do everything, the multinationals are saying: Wait a second, they’re too big and they’re too important, I need to work directly with you.

CURT NICKISCH: And when you say agencies, you’re talking about advertising agencies.


CURT NICKISCH: Yeah. So, was there a campaign that McDonald’s or BMW did, that really stood out?


CURT NICKISCH: It’s funny, I call it campaign, too, but that’s probably the wrong way of thinking about it.

KIM WHITLER: Yeah. BMW did something really interesting. What’s the process that you go through to buy a car? You are made aware of it through some sort of advertisement, and then at some point you decide I want to go, you might search for information about it, then you go test drive it. You go to the dealership, and I want to test drive the car, right?

And so they know that test driving cars is really a very important feature of the experience. And so what they wanted to do to launch a — I think the car was the X1 — again, their first objective was, how do we launch this as quickly as humanly possible across China, with as much engagement, without spending a lot of money? Because advertising costs a lot of money.

CURT NICKISCH: And that means not building dealerships all around the country and getting these cars shipped there for everybody to test drive?

KIM WHITLER: It means that; it means not spending a lot of money on ads that talk about the X1. It’s how do we create a viral engaging experience that people want to participate in because it’s so much fun?

And so what they did is, they decided to create a virtual concert. So they had a real live concert, OK, and they had a number of celebrities from across different generations so that they appealed to a large group of their target audience. This concert was available live on mobile, OK, so you can sit there and watch everybody on your phone.

So they brought in key opinion leaders, big influencers across different target demographic groups, and those influencers were there live at the event, and they were talking about the event to their fans.

So as you’re watching, I’m just making this up, as you’re watching Justin Bieber sing, there’s a KOL who’s a big influencer of that demographic, who’s then connecting directly with the fans who are watching the concert via their mobile phone.

The influencers then went and did a virtual test drive, where the fans could watch them experience the car and do the test drive with their favorite influencer. And then there was all sorts of fun things like vote for your best drive, and so what this was able, what they were able to do is get thousands and thousands of people to do the virtual test drives.

They had over 10 million people who participated in the concert. Now, remember, this all happened in one day. And so it’s just a different way of thinking about developing a program. It was not advertising first, it was not promotion first. It was how do I create content that consumers want to engage with? And then find a mechanism to get as many consumers in your target demographic as possible to engage.

CURT NICKISCH: OK. So, that sounds very digital, and it may not sound all that different from how we see brands work with Twitter to promote things, or I covered the Super Bowl, right, so there were lots of key opinion leaders there, for brands and for products, that are just part of all of the digital marketing that goes on at a huge event like that.

So, to somebody who hears that BMW story and says oh, that sounds like a great thing that they did, it worked pretty well, but it doesn’t sound like that different. What is the difference? What makes this so remarkable?

KIM WHITLER: I would ask you to show me an example where a company like BMW in the U.S. does this for a launch. I mean, it’s like saying, how do we go create a cultural event like Woodstock and use that cultural event to create excitement around the product? It’s not that at some point during the concert it’s “brought to you by,” it’s that it’s woven into the fabric of the experience, and then the test drives are part of the experience.

And then there’s a gaming part of this, a competition. Right? We love competition. One of the things that I find most fascinating about China is because gaming is so popular, and it’s embedded into a company like Tencent, the way in which they think about engaging with the consumer starts with principles around games.

How does Candy Crush get somebody to spend four hours a day on their mobile phone? And that type of thinking – because gaming is a whole different industry. How many marketers are looking at the psychology of gaming, and saying what can we learn, and bring that into the way in which we create content and engaging experiences for the consumers?

CURT NICKISCH: This obviously applies to companies that do business in China, but I just wonder how much this applies to other markets in Asia, I wonder how much this applies to the potential for disruption of marketing efforts in the United States?

Because this could be Chinese companies that deliver products over here, or it could just be somebody in Silicon Valley who gets an idea from how things are done in China and just wants to compete head-to-head with the U.S. company in the United States with these new strategies and tactics.

KIM WHITLER: You’re absolutely right. I think historically our mindset has been, we created marketing theory out of the West. We exported it to the world through our books, our textbooks, our education.

The reality is that there’s a different – because of the structure, because of the mindset, because of the competency that is being built there, we need to learn from them. This isn’t just about exportation. We need to be importing and understanding it because even if you don’t compete in China, many of these companies are investing in American companies.

And so, if you’re competing here, you could be competing with a company that has a Chinese backer, that has some of this competency. And frankly, there’s a whole other reason to do it. I’m somebody who’s lived around the world and managed businesses around the world. Your goal is to become the best marketer you can. And if we think that all the ideas need to be invented in the West and exported, I think that’s myopic.

There’s a lot that we can learn, and it’s not just adaptation. It’s not like we, we learn here, and then we adapt for other markets. There’s a lot you can learn about markets that are evolving in a different way. It forces them to learn capabilities and competencies that we might not have, that can make us stronger.

And so, more than anything, this article was really not about how China is going to beat the U.S. or the West, it’s more that there are things that they’re learning there, that because we are, we like to learn and grow, at least the marketers I interact with, they like to learn and grow. That there’s something that we can learn and take from China that can help make us better and more competitive in the markets in which we compete.

CURT NICKISCH: Kim, this has been great. Thanks so much for sharing these insights.

KIM WHITLER: Thank you so much. And I really enjoyed it.

CURT NICKISCH: That’s Kim Whitler. She’s an assistant professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. She wrote the article “What Western Marketers Can Learn from China.” It’s in the May-June 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review and at HBR.org.

This episode was produced by Mary Dooe. We get technical help from Rob Eckhardt. Adam Buchholz is our audio product manager.

Thanks for listening to the HBR IdeaCast. I’m Curt Nickisch.

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Opinion | Will China Export its Illiberal Innovation? – The New York Times

Opinion | Will China Export its Illiberal Innovation? – The New York Times

In 2009, after internet-fueled race riots between Uighur Muslims and Han Chinese in China’s northwest territory of Xinjiang, the ruling Communist Party took drastic action: the digital kill switch. Beijing disabled Xinjiang’s internet, sending military police to restore order. The blackout lasted nearly a year. Now, a decade later, Xinjiang is writhing under a new clampdown aimed at the Uighurs. This time, Beijing has embraced the opposite philosophy: a digital panopticon, enlisting private tech firms to expand China’s internet of things and enmesh its own people.

The technologies being honed in Xinjiang, driven by this kind of illiberal innovation, may be coming soon to an app store near you. These exports risk enabling aspiring autocrats worldwide, and may concentrate alarming power in the hands of China’s Communist Party.

Until recently, China was dismissed as an innovation laggard that copied technology from the West. Today, many Chinese tech sectors have leapfrogged Silicon Valley, sometimes with heavy-handed help from the party. Consumer-friendly smartphone apps have pushed cash, credit cards and identification documents toward extinction. Hotel booking systems will ping your smartphone, linked to your national ID card, to let you check in using facial recognition. In under a minute, a mom-and-pop hardware kiosk can create a personalized QR code for cashless payments through WeChat, an indispensable app that combines the functions of WhatsApp, Venmo, Seamless, Uber and more. For an expatriate accustomed to China’s freewheeling start-up scene and whizzy tech conveniences, coming home can feel like stepping back in time.

But, as the Uighur minority of Xinjiang are learning, that convenience comes at an Orwellian price. Speedy data networks and integrated digital commerce are learning to work with the party’s aggressive security apparatus. Invasive DNA databases and facial recognition powered by artificial intelligence have created a digital dragnet, enhanced by mandatory surveillance apps installed on smartphones and backed by a newly built network of IRL gulags. Offenses as trivial as forwarding a traditional Islamic holiday greeting on WeChat, or posting a bearded selfie, can land citizens in internment camps. Even Uighurs living abroad are entangled, through their families and their smartphones, in Beijing’s crackdown. (The repression has reportedly created a black market in old Nokia phones, which are less legible to the state.)

Xinjiang’s plight is more than a local tragedy: It is a warning.

An ethnic Uighur woman walks in front of a giant screen with a picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping in the main city square in Kashgar in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China. The screen broadcasts a slideshow of images of Xi on loop, including propaganda images of his previous visit to Xinjiang.

An ethnic Uighur woman walks in front of a giant screen with a picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping in the main city square in Kashgar in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China. The screen broadcasts a slideshow of images of Xi on loop, including propaganda images of his previous visit to Xinjiang.
Thomas Peter for Reuters

The global risk from China’s technology sector is not necessarily a sinister conspiracy to exert Xinjiang-style controls overseas. Beijing’s leaders are focused on domestic affairs and for now, China’s budding tech dystopia is still more “Brazil” than “Black Mirror.” Rather, this risk is a byproduct of Beijing’s business as usual, on a huge global scale.

Products created for China’s vast surveilled and censored domestic market are increasingly popular overseas, where they are often cheaper and more appealing to consumers. Huawei, for instance, has honed its 5G wireless technology — which will support the next generation of data-intensive, A.I.-powered gadgets — in China’s domestic, bleeding-edge consumer market for the internet of things. Many Huawei phones are bought by Chinese who have never owned a PC or other digital device, giving the company an edge in imagining and designing mobile products for developing markets that skipped over the PC era. Huawei’s cheaper (and often subsidized) price points, and comparable or superior products, have made its phones a better-value purchase than the iPhone for cost-savvy consumers around the world, and its 5G infrastructure attractive for penny-pinching governments. Most are unaware, or apparently unconcerned, about censorship or surveillance.

They should be worried. According to the Soviet-style playbook that still influences Chinese security services, collecting haystacks of citizen information, by whatever means necessary, is the foundation of social control and “stability maintenance.”

The Soviet model was an analog blend of Big Brother and big data, amassing reams of information about citizens to understand their fears, vulnerabilities and intentions, and pre-empt any challenge to the Party-State’s power. China has adapted this paranoid style to the modern tech age. Private corporations and the Communist Party’s security apparatus have grown together, discovering how the same data sets can both cater to consumers and help commissars calibrate repression.

The party’s instinctual contempt for privacy, married to its proactive industrial policy, can be a boon for well-connected private businesses. Many tech firms make a point of hiring the relatives of high party officials, and a vast state database of headshots might be shared with a private firm to train new facial recognition software, while the firm’s trove of real-time user data might be offered to police, for a panoramic view of potential “troublemakers.”

Between the Communist Party’s repressive impulses, its influence over China’s vast and innovative tech ecosystem, and new technology’s general propensity to disrupt and surprise, it is naïve to expect that we can fully anticipate and mitigate the impact of illiberal innovations exported abroad. Even innocuous-seeming technology, when paired with China’s authoritarian impulses and state-led development model, may challenge liberal values in unexpected ways.

Consider TikTok, a social video-sharing app that last year had more downloads on the Apple app store than Instagram. TikTok fills a market niche abandoned by Vine, the American-grown short-video-sharing app shuttered by Twitter in 2017. Users can upload videos of themselves or friends lip-synching the latest pop tunes or decorating or distorting their faces, all easily edited into a clip for other users to “like,” “share” or comment on.

To China’s surveillance state, a video-sharing app offers much more than than your dog dancing to Drake. TikTok’s domestic Chinese version, Douyin, is heavily censored and surveilled: Last year, the British cartoon Peppa Pig was purged from the platform after the authorities decided she had taken on subversive meaning. (It is unclear whether this was because of a direct government order or the company pre-emptively censoring itself.)

For residents of Xinjiang, posting a video of traditional Uighur music sung in their native language might be flagged by machine-learning algorithms, and bring a deletion and a visit from the police. In what appear to be precautionary performances of loyalty to the government, Uighur users of Douyin have recorded themselves singing pro-party songs, pointedly in Mandarin. Given the wide use of facial recognition across Xinjiang, and the potential sharing of security data sets between state agencies and private firms, Douyin’s raw video data may also offer a tempting training set for machine-learning software. (Recent leaks have shown China’s developing capability to match GPS coordinates with Uighur facial recognition data; with help from a Yale professor and an American biotech firm, Thermo Fisher, China has also built a database of Uighur DNA.)

A video posted on Douyin of Uighur workers in Hotan singing “Without the Communist Party, There Would Be No New China.” The video, shared across Twitter and Facebook by the Uighur diaspora, was deleted from media platforms within China.

A Douyin video, reportedly taken in Xinjiang, appears to show a Uighur child singing “Without the Communist Party, There Would Be No New China.” The user’s Douyin ID and children’s faces have been obscured to protect their identity.

To date, no evidence suggests that Chinese authorities have used their leverage over Douyin domestically to censor or surveil TikTok overseas. But given what we know about Beijing’s illiberal impulses, there is a gap between what is provable beforehand, and what it is prudent to presume. The brazen lying that is normalized in China’s corporate and political culture, and the meaninglessness of written rules, mean that published regulations, or guarantees by private firms and government officials, are simply not credible. (Just ask Prof. Kenneth Kidd, the geneticist at Yale who accepted assurances from his Chinese counterparts that DNA samples for their joint project would be ethically obtained. Dr. Kidd claimed to be shocked — shocked — to discover that the Ministry of Public Security’s sweet nothings can’t be taken at face value. His credulous negligence has tainted a Yale DNA database; future generations may remember Thermo Fischer among corporate collaborationists like I.B.M. and Bayer.)

TikTok itself has already been fined by the Federal Trade Commission for a casual attitude toward privacy compliance; its heavy-handed solution, mass deletions, enraged some consumers. But the choices of ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, are rational; it fears the Communist Party more than angry tweets from tweens outside the Great Firewall.

The West’s increasing technological and economic exposure to China may have unintended consequences. Over a decade ago, the singer Björk was banned from China, and muzzled within the Great Firewall, for advocating Tibetan independence during a concert in Shanghai. If, tomorrow, Björk followed up with a TikTok video pleading for Uighur rights, and the clip went viral globally, would the party be able to resist the temptation to lean on ByteDance to slow or stop it? If your face appears in the background of another person’s TikTok video shot in Berlin, will it be logged using facial recognition software running in Shanghai? Those who complain that American firms like Facebook are invasive and unaccountable are unlikely to prefer China’s tech giants, which are often cowed by, and collaborating with, the Party-State’s opaque and irascible censorship and surveillance apparatus.

[As technology advances, will it continue to blur the lines between public and private? Sign up for Charlie Warzel’s limited-run newsletter to explore what’s at stake and what you can do about it.]

To be sure, the United States has abused its own technological hegemony for power and profit. After World War II, much global communications infrastructure ran through wires on United States soil, giving American spies privileged access to the world’s communications. American intelligence agencies have been credibly accused of seeding United States-made electronic exports with bugs and spyware.

American Apps Dominate in the Five Eyes Countries

Each flag represents the country of origin of a top ten downloaded app within a national market. TikTok was the only Chinese app to become popular last year within the countries of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

Source: Monthly data from App Annie

The critical difference with China lies not in the wiring of chips or lines of code, but in history, culture and scale. By custom, Americans trust that the contents of their snail-mail letters are protected by the Fourth Amendment; government access requires a judge to issue a warrant. American tech firms routinely stand up to the United States government. Apple, for example, has developed default iOS encryptions that shield user activity from the company itself, to the frustration of the F.B.I. An iPhone user in Iran or Belarus benefits from Silicon Valley’s civil libertarianism.

China is different. The People’s Republic has always reserved the right to open its citizens’ mail at any time, for any reason; there is no basis to believe its basic approach will differ because the technology is new. Ironically, the internet, which Western techno-utopians prophesied would liberalize China, may instead allow the party to indulge previously impossible fantasies of mass control. The Uighurs of Xinjiang are the first in human history to fully experience the downside of China’s illiberal innovation. They are unlikely to be the last.

Nick Frisch (@NBBF88) is an Asian studies doctoral candidate at Yale’s graduate school, and a resident fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project.

Ash Ngu is a graphics editor for The New York Times.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.

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Correction: May 2, 2019 A previous version of this article misstated the location of Xinjiang, a province of China. It is in the northwest of the country, not the northeast.

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US Gives Temporary Relief for Rural Business Using Huawei – BNNBloomberg.ca

US Gives Temporary Relief for Rural Business Using Huawei – BNNBloomberg.ca

The Commerce Department on Monday granted a 90-day relief for certain U.S. broadband companies and wireless customers using Huawei Technologies Co. equipment.

The temporary license covers continued operation of existing networks and equipment as well as support to existing handsets and other limited actions, according to a notice published in the Federal Register Monday.

“This license will allow operations to continue for existing Huawei mobile phone users and rural broadband networks,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an emailed statement on Monday.

The Trump Administration blacklisted Huawei on Friday, jeopardizing its supply of American components from semiconductors to the Google apps that run on its smartphones. For Huawei phone users, the temporary reprieve means Google will be able to provide key Android security updates during the 90-day time frame, but future Huawei phones will still lack Google’s apps.

Ross said last week on Bloomberg Television that the administration had a plan in place to deal with rural providers that use the Chinese company’s equipment in existing 4G networks.

The move comes after the Trump administration placed the Chinese telecoms giant on an export blacklist that requires American companies to apply for a special license to sell products to the world’s largest networking gear maker. The impact of the Trump administration’s threats to choke Huawei reverberated across the global supply chain on Monday, hitting some of the biggest component-makers.

Small carriers, the main U.S. users of Huawei gear, had worried the ban could keep them from even routine practices such as ordering replacement parts or exchanging information in order to update software.

The equipment is typically cheap and reliable, winning fans among rural providers. The largest U.S. carriers don’t use Huawei gear, which government officials say could be used for espionage — an allegation the company denies.

The temporary license is effective for three months, until Aug. 19.

Kevin Wolf, former head of the Commerce Department’s export controls section, said the temporary relief is not an indication that the Trump administration was backing off its ban on the company.

“It is a limited authorization to prevent Internet and telecom systems from crashing. It is not a general relief from the impact of the listing,” he said.

Such a temporary license has been granted only once before, for Huawei rival ZTE Corp., last year, Wolf added.

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