Guest Host: Sasha-Ann Simons

A customer checks out a Huawei smartphone in a store in Beijing.

A customer checks out a Huawei smartphone in a store in Beijing.

The Chinese tech company Huawei wants to be “the top smartphone brand by the end of 2020,” according to CNN.

But that won’t happen if the White House has its way. Last week, President Donald Trump issued an executive order to ban the purchase or use of foreign-made technology by American companies if the technology is deemed a national security risk.

Even though the order didn’t explicitly target Huawei (and a 90-day extension on sales was issued by the Commerce Department) many observers viewed the move as one that could hurt the Chinese company by limiting its profits. A 2012 Congressional report said Huawei potentially posed a threat to national security, Wired reports. That report caused major U.S wireless companies and other internet providers to avoid Chinese-made equipment for their products.

Earlier this week, Google also said it will limit the services it provides to Huawei, which will likely hurt Huawei’s business in Europe.

These moves, which come in the context of an on-going trade war with China, could have broad implications.

Here’s further analysis from The New York Times:

If China and the United States have begun a technological Cold War, then the Huawei order can best be seen as the beginnings of a digital Iron Curtain. In this potential vision of the future of technology, China will continue to keep out much of the world. The United States and many other countries, goes this thinking, will in turn block Chinese technology.

The tougher American stance is closing off many of the ways that the United States and China exchanged ideas and did business despite the strict Chinese censorship regime. Those closed doors could have profound effects not only on the business of technology, but also on how the world will use and understand the devices and services of the future.

What evidence do American officials have that Huawei is dangerous? How will these restrictions affect American consumers?


  • John P. Carlin Former assistant attorney general, the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division under Obama
  • Michael Schuman Journalist; author, "Confucius: And the World He Created"; contributor, The Atlantic and Bloomberg; @MichaelSchuman
  • Scott Tong Former China Bureau Chief, Marketplace; author, "A Village with My Name: A Family History of China’s Opening to the World"; @tongscott

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