US-China Tech War’s Toll Made Visible


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  • Global Impact is a fortnightly curated newsletter featuring a news topic originating in China with a significant macro impact for our newsreaders around the world
  • In this edition, we look at what 2023 has in store for US-China relations in the tech sphere

If Washington has one message for China in 2023, it may as well be this: stay in your lane.

And for many companies on display at the world’s largest electronics show earlier this month, it looked like that is exactly what they were doing. The biggest Chinese names at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas were Lenovo, TCL and Hisense – all computer and television makers. In other words, not the most hi-tech products on the market.

That is not to say that these companies are not pushing the envelope in these areas. Hisense and TCL sought to one-up each other at CES with new projectors and micro-LED TVs. Lenovo’s dual-screen Yoga Book 9i was also well-received by tech reviewers.

Still, it is impossible not to see that the US-China tech war has taken a toll. The number of Chinese tech firms at CES this year was less than half that of pre-pandemic levels. Some absences were more conspicuous than others. DJI, the largest drone maker in the world, did not show up, as it is now one of many Chinese tech firms sanctioned by the US.

CES made visible the US-China tech decoupling that advanced over the course of 2022. From supply chains to social media, the US has been pushing to move away from reliance on China.

ByteDance’s TikTok remains an especially contentious topic. This year is expected to be critical for the short video app, which has faced pushback from politicians in Washington.

As the Biden administration sought a security deal to allow TikTok to continue operating in the US, some members of Congress and government departments have continued to sound the alarm on perceived national security threats from the app. In December, Florida Senator Marco Rubio introduced legislation to block transactions with TikTok.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of states and government agencies have banned the use of the app on government devices. It’s not just in the US, either. Taiwan also banned TikTok on government devices, along with its Chinese version Douyin and the social platform Xiaohongshu.


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Source: SCMP


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