The tea leaf reading continues on the China-US trade talks. China came out with a number of new suggestions of coming reforms and relaxations but White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said it could be “months” before an agreement was reached, and the signals, to the extent they are readable, appear to suggest that the US is firming in its resolve to achieve concrete results. If one was to try and predict how the global and particularly US view on China is going to trend over the “months” ahead, it would probably be towards less rosy, which would then tend to increase the likelihood of the US to holding out for a solid deal. The goal, as the US side has it, is reciprocity and common observance of international principles. Sounds easy enough in principle. But the tea leaves keep swirling.
Huawei just keeps getting more interesting. The most noteworthy information to emerge this week was that the company’s CFO Ms Meng, daughter of the CEO, had in her possession three Apple products when she was detained in Canada pending extradition to the United States. An iPhone, an iPad and a MacBook laptop. What this says about the usability of Huawei’s competing products goes without saying. But Huawei on Friday announced that its global sales had crossed the US$100 billion mark with just those consumer products leading the way as sales of the telecommunications equipment under question globally are flagging. The EU indicated it was not up for a blanket ban of Huawei from 5G network building projects, but a report issued by a UK government body was critical of Huawei’s responsiveness to fixing security and other flaws in existing Huawei telecoms systems in Britain. The report said that Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre does not believe that the defects were a result of state interference, but rather a result of basic engineering incompetence and a lack of cyber security hygiene.
The best fun item of the week was news that a Beijing company owns the popular gay dating app Grindr, and that the US government wants it to sell on the grounds that the ownership poses a risk to national security. Who knows whose personal details are embedded in Grindr’s data banks, waiting to be mined and activated for blackmail purposes? So be careful where you share your personal information over this spring weekend.