Homepage / Technology / Beijing and Washington are headed for a fight — and US tech companies are in the middle of it
Amazon says this Prime Day was its biggest shopping event ever Kudlow says President Trump is 'so dissatisfied' with China trade talks that he is keeping the pressure on As stocks regain their footing, an ominous warning looms Goldman Sachs downgrades Clorox to sell, says valuation is 'unsustainably high' How Satya Nadella has spurred a tripling of Microsoft's stock price in just over four years Kudlow says economic growth could top 4% for 'a quarter or two,' more tax cuts could be coming The one chart that explains Netflix’s stunning comeback US housing starts plunge 12% in June to a nine-month low Aerospace titans Boeing and Airbus top $110 billion in orders at Farnborough Target uses Prime Day to its advantage, logging its 'biggest online shopping day' so far this year Billionaire Marc Lasry sees bitcoin reaching up to $40,000 as it becomes more mainstream and easier to trade These are the 10 US airports where you're most likely to be hacked Amazon shares slightly higher as investors await Prime Day results Wreck of Russian warship found, believed to hold gold worth $130 billion A bullish ‘phenomenon’ in bond market is weeks away from fading, top credit strategist says Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: MS, GOOGL, TXN, UAL, NFLX & more Twitter shares up 50% since late April means most upside priced in, analyst says in downgrade EU fines Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse Mortgage applications fall 2.5% as buyers struggle to find affordable homes America may not have the tools to counter the next financial crisis, warn Bernanke, Geithner and Paulson Investors are getting spooked as the risk of a no-deal Brexit rises EU expected to fine Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse Ex-FBI chief James Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterm elections Elon Musk apologizes to British cave diver following baseless 'pedo guy' claim Disney, Comcast and Fox: All you need to know about one of the biggest media battles ever Xiaomi shares notch new high after Hong Kong, mainland China stock exchanges reach agreement The trade war is complicating China's efforts to fix its economy European markets set for a strong open amid earnings; Google in focus Hedge fund billionaire Einhorn places sixth in major poker tournament The biggest spender of political ads on Facebook? President Trump Asian stocks poised to gain after Fed's Powell gives upbeat comments; dollar firmer Stocks are setting up to break to new highs Not all FAANG stocks are created equal EU ruling may be too little, too late to stop Google's mobile dominance Cramer explains how Netflix's stock managed to taper its drop after disappointing on earnings Airbnb condemns New York City's 'bellhop politics,' threatens legal retaliation Amazon sellers say they were unfairly suspended right before Prime Day, and now have two bad choices Investor explains why 'duller' tech stocks can have better returns than 'high-flying' tech names Elon Musk is 'thin-skinned and short-tempered,' says tech VC Texas Instruments CEO Brian Crutcher resigns for violating code of conduct Google Cloud Platform fixes issues that took down Spotify, Snapchat and other popular sites Uber exec: We want to become the 'one stop' transportation app 'What a dumb hearing,' says Democrat as Congress grills tech companies on conservative bias Amazon shares rebound, report says Prime Day sales jumped 89 percent in first 12 hours of the event How to put your medical history on your iPhone in less than 5 minutes Investment chief: Watch these two big events in 2018 Even with Netflix slowing, the market rally is likely not over Cramer: Netflix subscriber weakness debunks the 'sky's the limit' theory on the stock Netflix is looking at watch time as a new area of growth, but the competition is stiff Why Nobel laureate Richard Thaler follows Warren Buffett's advice to avoid bitcoin Rolls-Royce is developing tiny 'cockroach' robots to crawl in and fix airplane engines After Netflix plunge, Wall Street analysts forecast just tame returns ahead for the once high-flying FANG group Roku shares rise after analyst raises streaming video company's price target due to customer growth China is investing 9 times more into Europe than into North America, report reveals Amazon says US Prime Day sales 'so far bigger than ever' as glitch is resolved Netflix is on pace for its worst day in two years US lumber producers see huge opportunity, rush to expand San Francisco to consider tax on companies to help homeless Homebuilder sentiment, still high, stalls as tariffs, labor and land drive up costs Powell backs more rate hikes as economy growing 'considerably stronger' Netflix history is filled with big stock declines – like today – followed by bigger rebounds Intel shares get downgraded by Evercore ISI due to rising competition from Nvidia, AMD Petco aims to reinvent the pet store with something you can't buy online Genetic testing is coming of age, but for consumers it's buyer beware Tech 'FAANG' was the most-crowded trade in the world heading into the Netflix implosion, survey shows Netflix weak subscriber growth may indicate a 'maturity wall' that could whack the stock even more: Analyst This chart may be predicting the bull market's demise Wall Street says Netflix's stock plunge is a ‘compelling’ buying opportunity because the streaming giant ‘never misses twice’ Tesla sinks after Musk tweets, again Boeing announces new division devoted to flying taxis Stocks making the biggest move premarket: NFLX, UNH, GS, AMZN, WMT & more Deutsche Bank downgrades Netflix, but says big subscriber miss is not 'thesis changing' IBM is experimenting with a cryptocurrency that’s pegged to the US dollar North Korea and Zimbabwe: A friendship explained Virgin Galactic spinoff Orbit to launch rockets from the UK with space deal Artificial intelligence will create more jobs than it destroys? That’s what PwC says ‘Treasonous’ Trump and ‘Putin’s poodle:' Scathing headlines follow the Trump-Putin summit China’s fintech companies offer ‘enormous’ opportunity, investment manager says Trump's performance at summit with Putin was 'unprecedented,' experts say Walmart and Microsoft link up on cloud technology as they both battle Amazon European stocks seen mixed amid earnings; Fed’s Powell to address Congress How I knew I should quit my day job and run my start-up full-time: Viral website founder China's stocks have been trounced, but the trade war may ultimately be good news for those shares Billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel bets on crypto start-up Block.one Asian shares subdued open after mixed close on Wall Street; energy stocks under pressure Amazon cloud hits snags after Amazon Prime Day downtime Netflix isn't doomed by one quarter unless people start questioning the long-term investor thesis Tech stocks set to sink on Tuesday after rough evening for ‘FANG’ Netflix plummets after missing big on subscriber growth This wristband lets humans control machines with their minds The U.S. has a rocky history convincing Russia to extradite computer criminals Amazon suffers glitches at the start of Prime Day Jeff Bezos is now the richest man in modern history 'The United States has been foolish': Read Trump and Putin's full exchange Goldman Sachs recommends these 5 highly profitable companies — including Nvidia — to combat rising inflation Goldman Sachs releases 'tactical' stock picks for this earnings season Three red flags for Netflix ahead of its earnings report The bond market may be raising recession fears, but don't expect one anytime soon Cramer: Banks are 'making fortunes' but are still as hated as they were during the financial crisis Putin told Trump at summit: Russia never meddled in US election

Technology

Beijing and Washington are headed for a fight — and US tech companies are in the middle of it

As the Trump administration moves to take on China over intellectual property, Washington will find it has limited firepower. Beijing has a strong grip on American technology companies, and global trade rules could favor China.

Technology is proving a major battleground for China and the United States, as both sides vie to protect their economic and national security interests.

Beijing has forced a long list of American companies to enter joint ventures or share research with Chinese players, part of a broader push to create its own technology giants. From makers of smartphones to chips to electric cars, American businesses have reluctantly agreed, fearful of losing access to China, which has the second-largest economy in the world.

China’s ambitions have set off alarms in Washington, with concerns on both sides of the aisle. Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, is now preparing a trade case accusing China of extensive violations of intellectual property, according to people with detailed knowledge of the case.

But China can play a strong defense. The country has broad latitude, under special rules it negotiated with the World Trade Organization, to maintain restrictions within its market.

“The problem is that U.S. trade negotiators agreed to provisions allowing China to limit market access for U.S. companies unless they engaged in joint ventures,” said Michael R. Wessel, a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which Congress created to monitor the relationship between the two countries.

More from The New York Times:
Trump administration is said to open broad inquiry into China’s trade practices
Is China outsmarting America in A.I.?
America’s competitors angle for Silicon Valley’s business

“Potential Chinese partners demand the family jewels,” he said. “Companies can say no, but too many give in to Chinese pressure to make a quick buck.”

The current trade frictions trace back to the Clinton administration.

When China was entering the W.T.O. in 1999 and 2000, American negotiators gave Beijing some leeway, a position later supported by the administration of George W. Bush. As a developing country, China was allowed extra protections, such as requirements that companies in critical industries work with Chinese partners. China, in return, promised to shed the extra rules gradually as its economy matured.

But Beijing did not open up, even as China evolved into an economic powerhouse. Quite the opposite has happened under President Xi Jinping, who has pursued a more nationalistic agenda than his reform-minded predecessors.

China now sees the technology sector as a critical piece of its industrial policy — a policy that Beijing is aggressively enlisting American tech giants to support and that the leadership will most likely go all out to protect.

Beijing’s demands have been partly driven by security concerns, particularly after disclosures by Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, of electronic spying by the United States on China’s rapid military buildup.

China has also been explicit about its economic motives, seeking to dominate fast-growing global industries that could create millions of well-paid jobs for a generation of increasingly well-educated young Chinese.

In several cases, China’s strategy to control technology approaches the kind of oversight most countries reserve for industries serving the military or government.

New Chinese rules often force foreign tech companies into partnerships with local companies — in part to gain expertise, in part to assert control. Other guidance from the government has indicated that companies must invest more in China to continue to have access to the market. Apple has opened research and development centers in the country as part of a new charm campaign.

In the chip sector, a major initiative intended to lift Chinese capabilities has drafted America’s biggest makers of the electronic brains that run everything from smartphones to driverless cars. Over the past four years, America’s largest chip companies have entered into a dizzying network of partnerships unlike anything they have anywhere else.

Qualcomm works with a company in southwest China to develop server chips. In 2014, Intel signed agreements with two Chinese chip makers, Spreadtrum and Rockchip, to give it a leg up in the market for China’s smartphones and tablets. Last year, Intel agreed to a partnership with the influential Tsinghua University in China as part of a bid to make server chips that match local specifications.

IBM and Advanced Micro Devices have both licensed chip technology to Chinese partners with ties to China’s military. GlobalFoundries, a California-based company, joined forces with a local government in central China to build a $10 billion chip manufacturing plant there.

American technology companies can find themselves at a serious disadvantage in China unless they agree to cooperate with government-linked Chinese businesses.

Take cloud computing, the fast-growing business of leasing computer power to companies. Chinese laws require foreign companies to join with local partners and allow them only a minority stake. International businesses are also blocked from branding such services under their own names.

Both Microsoft and Amazon, dominant forces in cloud computing in the United States, have local partnerships in China. By contrast, China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba operates two data centers in the United States without any partner.

Another rule calls for data about Chinese consumers or business operations to be stored in China. Apple and Amazon recently set up data centers in China, again with local partners, to store more customer information in the country.

Against that backdrop, the call for trade action is attracting bipartisan support.

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, which handles trade issues, met with Mr. Lighthizer Wednesday morning and gave him a letter supporting a challenge to Chinese policies. “China’s forced technology transfer policies are among the key challenges facing U.S. innovators operating in China or otherwise competing with Chinese firms,” Senator Wyden wrote.

China can make its own play under global trade rules. Beijing can quickly demand binding arbitration — and could have a good chance of winning. China was allowed into the W.T.O. with very few limits on its ability to regulate services or foreign investment, two categories in which China was fairly weak when it entered the organization in 2001.

If China did win a W.T.O. case, it would then have the right to restrict American exports to the same extent that the United States restricts Chinese imports.

China consistently exports four times as much to the United States as it imports. Even so, China could penalize American companies like Apple and Starbucks that have very large operations that produce and sell in China with minimal imports from the United States.

“U.S. negotiators, I think, basically dropped the ball,” said Nicholas R. Lardy, a longtime trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, referring to the rules on services that were negotiated when China entered the W.T.O. “They didn’t think China was very important.”

Source: Tech CNBC
Beijing and Washington are headed for a fight — and US tech companies are in the middle of it

Comments are closed.