The trade war with the US has woken China’s technology industry up to a disparity in capability and the country must learn to “play against the wind”, according to Tencent Holdings chairman Pony Ma Huateng.
“China still lags some distance behind in terms of technological capability,” Ma said in a speech at the Smart China Expo in Chongqing on Thursday. “The China-US trade friction not only woke us up to this point, but has shaken the foundations for the prosperity and stability of global technology.”
Ma is among a raft of technology industry leaders gathered in Chongqing for the three-day conference. Other speakers include Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma Yun and Huawei Technologies chairman Howard Liang Hua. (Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.)
The US and China are engaged in a trade war, slapping retaliatory tariffs on each other’s goods. The Trump administration has also taken aim at China’s technological ambitions, laid out in a “Made in China 2025” plan that is intended to guide the country’s industrial modernisation.
The US has said it would apply tariffs on products “containing industrially significant technology, including those related to ‘Made in China 2025’”.
Corporate leaders are speaking out against the trade war and warning of disruptions to global commerce and the economy.
On Wednesday, Li & Fung chief executive Spencer Fung told reporters at an earnings briefing that the US-China trade war is likely to stoke US consumer price inflation and force more production to be moved from China to its Asian neighbours, especially in the textile industry, though there will not be a big reduction in manufacturing in the country.
Separately, Australia banned Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp from supplying 5G technology to the country, citing national security concerns. In a tweet, Huawei Australia called the action an “extremely disappointing result for consumers”.
In his speech at the conference, Liang said Huawei “will ensure that it uses data legally”, without making specific reference to Australia.
Liang shook his head and declined to comment when asked for his reaction to Australia’s action. He spoke about the importance of fundamental research in his speech at the conference.
This article With US-China trade war, learn to ‘play against the wind’, says Tencent chairman Pony Ma first appeared on South China Morning Post