5G competition a new arms race?

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A woman stands at the booth of Huawei featuring 5G technology at the PT Expo in Beijing, China September 28, 2018. Picture taken September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

The New York Times reported on Saturday that the US government has defined 5G competition as a “new arms race”. According to the report, “whichever country dominates 5G will gain an economic, intelligence and military edge for much of this century.”

The transition to 5G is a revolution and “this will be almost more important than electricity”, an analyst was quoted by the report as saying.

It’s hard to accurately understand the potential of 5G technology and its significance nowadays. More imagination should be encouraged. However, referring to 5G competition as an arms race and attaching so much importance to the dominance of the technology is typical American thinking.

A hegemon in the economic and technological field, the US thinks China also has the ambition to contest for 5G dominance. The US views 5G development with a zero-sum mind-set, causing negative impacts.

Globalisation greatly promoted the integration of all countries’ interests and brought about a great evolution in distribution of profits. In the future, the power of a few select countries can no longer dominate the whole world.

The US is completely ignoring business rules and savagely suppressing Huawei, which is the most severe persecution in decades of globalisation. But Washington has no evidence of Huawei espionage, only imaginary accusations. Washington wants to deprive Chinese companies of their right to lead 5G technology. The US is using geopolitics rather than market rules in 5G construction.

The US is using its deeply rooted zero-sum mind-set to examine 5G. This is the first setback that Washington has brought to globalisation. It will bring chaos to some extent, but not for long.

This is because boycotting Huawei tallies with US interests, but it doesn’t represent the whole Western world’s interests. Countries that don’t want to dominate the world may find it ridiculous calling 5G a “new arms race”.

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