With growing tensions between Chinese and American business worlds, impacts on the biggest American tech trade show can be seen. A CES spokesperson reported that neither Huawei nor ZTE officials will be attending CES 2019. The US–China trade war is causing difficulties for both nations, especially smaller businesses and startups without supply chain flexibility like their larger tech rivals. The trade war is going to be a major theme of CES 2019.
Josh Sultan of Jetson said that they will be trying to move their supply chain to Vietnam and out of China. As ZTE and Huawei back out of CES, Trump administration requests extradition against Huawei CFO and tough sanctions against ZTE. Whether China or America will dominate the new wireless technology generation will be discussed at CES, with both countries trying to achieve 5G supremacy. Even with few Chinese tech firms skipping CES 2019, companies like Lenovo, JD, Baidu and Alibaba plan to ramp up their presence in order to build their brands and form partnerships. Chinese companies still occupy about 13–14% of CES floor space.
US–China tech tensions heightened recently with arrest of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s CFO, in December for allegedly helping the firm in dodging sanctions on Iran. Huawei, that sells greater number of smartphones than Apple, contributes to Chinese tech power greatly. Although US government accused the company of working with Chinese national intelligence and being a security risk nationally, it defended itself against accusations by saying that it follows all regulations and wasn’t aware of any wrongdoing by Meng. Similar allegations were brought against ZTE and the company was blocked from purchasing US technology parts in April 2018. The ban was lifted after ZTE formed an entirely new board of members, appointed a new CEO, brought in an American monitoring team, put $400m in an escrow account and paid a fine of $1bn.
Fighting the fight for 5G supremacy are US wireless firms including Verizon and AT&T and Chinese companies Huawei, which is battling against American tech giants Intel and Qualcomm. Whoever wins the fight will have huge investment and hiring leads and cache of valuable data. Huawei introduced a new 5G chip in Shenzhen on Monday. Both Intel and Qualcomm will use CES 2019 platform to make important 5G announcements.