Apple said the US-China trade war had weighed on consumers in the world's second-largest economy. Some pundits pointed to a broader economic slowdown in the country, while others highlighted the growing domestic competition that Apple faces in China from increasingly capable domestic suppliers like Huawei and Xiaomi. None of this is wrong, but it misses the deeper issue: US companies face a growing risk of being boxed out of the next wave of innovation in China.
The Trump administration has warned scientists doing biomedical research at American universities that they may be targets of Chinese spies trying to steal and exploit information from their laboratories. Scientists and universities receiving funds from the National Institutes of Health for cutting-edge research need to tighten their security procedures and take other precautions, said a panel of experts commissioned by the agency to investigate “foreign influences on research integrity.”
In November 2018, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), China’s biggest defense electronics company, unveiled a prototype radar that it claims can detect stealth aircraft in flight. The radar uses some of the exotic phenomena of quantum physics to help reveal planes’ locations. It’s just one of several quantum-inspired technologies that could change the face of warfare.
Chinese technology companies have long been the talk of the Consumer Electronics Show, an annual showcase of new ideas and products, sending executives to deliver keynote speeches and throw flashy events to show off their new products.
Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said Friday that Apple's technology may have been stolen by the Chinese. "I don't want to surmise too much here, but Apple technology may have been picked off by China and now China is becoming very competitive with Apple. You've got to have rule of law," Kudlow said in an interview with Bloomberg. "There are some indications from China that they're looking at that, but we don't know that yet. There's no enforcement; there's nothing concrete."
To understand China's espionage goals, U.S. officials say, just look at the ambitious aims the country set out in the plan "Made in China 2025." By that date, China wants to be a world leader in artificial intelligence, computing power, military technology, as well as energy and transportation systems. And that's just a partial list.
China is reportedly considering a new law on foreign investment that would emphasize the illegality of forced tech transfers -- the practice of which has been a major complaint from Washington amid the ongoing tariff battle between the world's two largest economies.
China’s state-run media companies are rapidly expanding their integration with Western news outlets, as part of Beijing’s worldwide foreign influence operations campaign. In Washington, lawmakers in both parties are calling out such arrangements and demanding U.S. media companies make sure they don’t become tools of Chinese government propaganda.
This year’s most startling meeting of minds has been the rise of an anti-China consensus in the US. It spans Donald Trump’s White House and Congress, Republicans and Democrats, business and unions, globalists and populists. America may be at war with itself on almost everything else. But it is uniting on fear of China.
Imagine you’re a burglar. You’ve decided to tackle a high-end luxury apartment, the kind of building with multiple Picassos in the penthouse. You could spend weeks or months casing the place, studying every resident’s schedule, analyzing the locks on all the doors. You could dig through trash for hints about which units have alarms, run through every permutation of what the codes might be. Or you could also just steal the super’s keys. According to a Justice Department indictment Thursday, that is effectively what China has done to the rest of the world since 2014.