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Politics & Law

As the 5G race matters, arresting Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou is just a pawn move

A courtroom artist’s sketch of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou at the bail hearing, Vancouver, Canada. Image: Jane Wolsak/Reuters, captured from SCMP

The CNN provides a background report on the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei. A web link there brings you back to a Reuters report dated Jan 31, 2013: “London (Reuter) — A Hong Kong-based firm that attempted to sell embargoed HP computer equipment to Iran … has much closer ties to China’s Huawei …Cathy Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of company founder REn Zhengfei, served on the board of HK-based Skycom Tech Co Ltd between Feb 2008 and Apr 2009 ……”

Investigation and gathering of evidence do take time. However, as Meng has been travelling around Europe and Canada frequently over the past 5 years, the timing of requesting extradition from an American ally at this moment inevitably causes some speculation that there could be something more than the alleged sanction violation.

A straight forward guess is that it is because Huawei is now leading in the 5G race.

According to Oracle, 5G matters because:
[1] 5G enables serious applications like autonomous cars, drone delivery, and robotic surgery …
[2] 5G, along with cloud computing, is a prerequisite to successful use of AI, augmented or virtual reality, and other emerging technologies…

According to a Dec 10 essay from The Hill, 5G race matters because:

[3] As a result of our leadership in 4G, in 2016 we increased GDP by $100 billion …
[4] With speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G, lag-time lowered by a factor of five, mobile data volumes 1,000 times greater than today … 5G will enable new capabilities and unlock innovation across the economy …
[5] 5G .. is projected to enable more than $12 trillion in global economic output by 2035. Here at home, when the entire 5G value chain is considered, some expect the benefits to top $3.5 trillion, support 22 million jobs, and contribute the equivalent of the entire economy of India to real American global GDP.
[6] (For setting up the 5G network), China has … about 1.9 million wireless sites. By comparison, there are approximately 200,000 sites in the United States. This means the United States has 0.4 sites compared to China’s 5.3 sites for every 10 square miles……

These six points indicate the severity of the 5G race.

Having a Huawei executive detained (latest news: on $10 million bail) somewhere will neither slow down the company’s expansion, nor hinder China’s growth. Something more drastic and decisive will follow through. Arresting Meng is just an initial act, a Pawn move. You know, I know, Beijing knows. Therefore, it is not surprised to see Beijing’s high profile responses, which hopefully generate some sort of deterrence to harsher moves in future.

The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.

About keith K C Hui

Keith K C Hui is a Chinese University of Hong Kong graduate major in Government and Public Administration and the author of "Helmsman Ruler: China's Pragmatic Version of Plato's Ideal Political Succession System In The Republic" (2013).


4 thoughts on “As the 5G race matters, arresting Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou is just a pawn move

  1. Hui, you are a communist.


    Posted by John Frymire | December 13, 2018, 12:51 am
    • I did read some Karl Marx’ writings and took several courses on the Communist economic system (major in politics and minor in economics) in the 1980s. The Cultural Hegemony concept mentioned in my Sep 19 essay on China Daily Mail is also a Marxism-related theme. However, while I appreciate certain merits of Communism, I do not see myself a communist. I tend to follow the thoughts of Plato and Nietzsche. Anyway, please feel free to comment.

      Update: The latest arrests of two Canadian citizens by the Communist government in China is definitely related to the Huawei arrest incident, but it must be noted that Beijing actually is warning the US that if Washington proceeds, quite a number of American citizens will be detained in China. Beijing’ real target is not Canada, it is the USA.


      Posted by keith K C Hui | December 13, 2018, 10:39 pm
  2. Just because she has “fame”, does not mean she isn’t a common criminal. Just as much as any drugs cartel, moving money around illegally through ghost companies. This is what she presided over, and in the US to boot! She should be accountable if only to send a message that the law applies to all equally with no favoured untouchables.


    Posted by John | December 14, 2018, 7:33 pm
    • It is a sensible point, and I strongly agree that in China no one should be and could be untouchable. I actually did not make any defense for the suspect Ms. Meng because I was not in any position to say, in my words, “the alleged sanction violation” was fact or not. My focus was, is and will continue to be the political interpretation of event like this one. In this case, I put the focus on ‘timing’.


      Posted by keith K C Hui | December 14, 2018, 11:24 pm

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