Jul 4, 2023, 8:58am EDT
techNorth America

3 takes: Tech cold war between US and China hits the cloud

FILE PHOTO: A central processing unit (CPU) semiconductor chip is displayed among flags of China and U.S., in this illustration picture taken February 17, 2023. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo
REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo

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The News

Reports that the U.S. is preparing to restrict Chinese access to American cloud-computing software mark the latest development in the escalating high-tech trade war between the two countries.

We’ve curated three expert views on what this means.

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  • The frontlines of the “proxy war” are waged in the cloud. In his newsletter, journalist Kevin Xu writes that the winners on this new frontier — apart from the U.S. — are far from certain, with a lot at stake. The race to control the cloud isn’t brand new to either country. But as the competition heats up, the Chinese internet is largely moving towards networks based in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. — Interconnected
  • The market for cloud computing is massive, earning $544 billion in revenue last year. Chinese companies are just a sliver of the overall market, but the U.S. is targeting Chinese cloud computing in part because it believes the global internet should come from what it deems to be trustworthy sources, a report from tech journalist David McCabe noted. U.S. State Department officials are raising their concerns about China-based cloud computing with other countries, confidential sources told McCabe. — The New York Times
  • Tech and supercomputing experts in China argue that the world is reaching the end of globalization. At a recent industry forum in Shanghai, some experts declared globalization “dead.” Wei Shaojun, of the China Semiconductor Industry Association, said China is the “biggest” victim of deglobalization, as it had expected to use global resources to expand its tech sector. — South China Morning Post
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Know More

China has matched the U.S.’s pace on tech export controls, and in a tit-for-tat move Monday announced a restriction on the export of gallium and germanium, two minerals key to semiconductor manufacturing. The details of the ban are so far unspecified, but those looking to export the minerals will need to obtain a permit.

Outside of China, the minerals are also mined in Japan, Russia, South Korea, and Canada.