With Brazil and other emerging countries, ‘Huawei counterattacks’ the US – 12/11/2021 – Nelson de Sá

Five days after the 5G auction in Brazil, on Tuesday (9), the magazine Foreign Affairs, spokesperson for the American foreign policy establishment, posted the article “Huawei counterattacks”. In the subhead, “To beat China in technology, America must invest in the developing world” (below).

Despite Trump’s ongoing siege of the Chinese company, “Huawei continues to aggressively market its technology in the developing world, where it has been widely adopted.”

In other words, the article warns, “by deepening its presence in large emerging markets like Brazil, Indonesia and Nigeria, Huawei is positioning itself to grow again.”

The siege of years was successful, but not what he was looking for. The US government banned the company’s access to chips and Google apps, which hit its smartphone unit, which was one of the most profitable, hard.

Huawei became the world leader in handset sales, had just passed the Korean Samsung, and has now fallen to ninth place. In the third quarter, its revenue fell 38%, annualized. (Significantly, another Chinese company, Xiaomi, which has not been sanctioned and is not a 5G infrastructure provider, has taken the lead this year.)

The target was not Huawei’s smartphones, but its global leadership as a technology provider for operators, a market in which the US supports Sweden’s Ericsson and Finnish Nokia — but whose second strength is another Chinese company, ZTE, such as underlined the Financial Times.

The paper reported two weeks ago that Washington “doesn’t like Huawei’s dominance and has been trying to intimidate European governments” to get it out of their systems, advocating an alternative technology (Open RAN). “But there was no convergence”, both in meetings with the European Union and in the G7.

Even the supposed previous American victories against the Europeans, against the company, have been proving fragile.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel repeatedly bypassed pressure from both Trump and Joe Biden and kept Huawei, as the operators wanted. In Italy, which even formally barred it, Prime Minister Mario Draghi ended up releasing his negotiation with operator Vodafone.

And operator BT has already warned the British government, in an interview with the BBC, that “it is impossible” to remove Huawei from its infrastructure “in less than ten years”. In other words, in the country most docile to American demands, it remains until the 2030s, at least.

The same goes for Norway, the main Nordic market for the Chinese, and other Europeans. But the biggest problem, for Foreign Affairs, is the developing world, where it is being defined who will “win the future”.

In Africa, for example, Senegal announced four months ago the transfer of “all government data, including from state-owned companies such as the electricity company, to a datacenter” built with Huawei equipment and technology. “And the cost of switching suppliers can be prohibitive,” warns the American magazine.

It is already prohibitive in Brazil, where operators were the biggest defenders of the permanence of Huawei, present in its 3G and 4G systems. After the auction, they went shopping at the Chinese giant.

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