Cold War 2.0 is heating up as Washington continues to push back against predatory Chinese behaviour widely perceived in the US as an existential threat to the country’s technological pre-eminence and national security.
In a devastating blow to Huawei likened to a digital missile salvo, the Trump administration last month effectively barred the Chinese leviathan from access to the US telecommunications system and difficult-to-replace technology. President Donald Trump upped the ante this week by warning his British hosts that the US could restrict the flow of intelligence if the UK government allowed Huawei into its 5G network.
The repercussions for Huawei are likely to be extremely damaging for its reputation and commercial prospects despite attempts by its ex-People’s Liberation Army founder to downplay the impact and prepare for such an eventuality by stockpiling crucial components for its smartphones.
Intertwined global supply chains, already destabilised by the worsening US-China trade conflict and Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on Mexico, face further disruptions as Huawei struggles to recalibrate its operations.