Trump Blocks China-Backed Bid for Lattice Over Security Risk
This was an excellent move by Donald Trump, and it should be happening much, much more frequently. Chinese "innovation" usually involves stealing American intellectual property or buying high-tech American companies in order to take their technology legally. The former is nefarious but is an extremely common Chinese practice that harms America's economy, jobs, and society.
The latter is downright hypocritical: China does not allow Americans to purchase Chinese companies, but they feel that they are entitled to a right to purchase American companies (and to steal from them, apparently). We should be blocking their attempts to acquire our companies at every turn.
In true Communist propaganda fashion, a Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman said that the U.S. should "create a fair and transparent business environment"--an absolutely risible response, considering that it was delivered by a representative of a country (China) that has a decidedly unfair and opaque business regulatory environment to a country (the U.S.) with a far, far fairer and more transparent environment. I actually agree with him though. We should make it fairer: from now on, no Chinese companies should be allowed to purchase American companies until American companies are allowed to purchase Chinese companies. That's fair, right, Mr. Gao Feng?
Of course, we do have problems on our side. Our case is not helped by companies like Apple. Every year Apple releases new iPhones that are always overpriced, behind the technology curve (relative to phones made by Samsung and Google), increasingly tone-deaf in design, etc. They remove popular features that cost them money (Touch ID, for example) or that enable them to sell you an expensive new accessory (facilitated by their getting rid of headphone jacks, for example). After all this, they "content-lock" their customers to make switching to another brand very difficult and then gradually raise prices on them. The iPhone X price point is, frankly, silly, and I encourage everyone to boycott it. Technologically, it's not innovative: nearly all of its features have been on the market for years by other companies. It also gets rid of Touch ID--arguably one of the most commonly used of the iPhone's features--in favor of Face ID, a more awkward and quirky alternative whose inclusion didn't necessitate getting rid of Touch ID in the first place. Why would they do this? Answer: Higher profit margin. Under no circumstances would I pay $1,149 plus tax for any phone, never mind one with technology that was cutting edge in 2014.
So how does this tie into China? It does so in two ways. First, Apple isn't very innovative: they mostly just steal ideas from other companies, mark up the price, and then sell it to their content-locked and trapped customers. In other words, Apple is very comfortable with the China model; they're a good match.
Second, what does Apple do with all the cash it gets from squeezing every penny it possibly can from its customers? Well, mostly it hoards its cash or pays it out to its executives. Apple returns a surprisingly small percentage of its cash to its shareholders, keeps most of its cash outside the United States, and (despite its convenient claims of concern for things like the environment and human rights here in the U.S.) uses sizeable chunks of its cash to build data centers in China. China wants Apple to build data centers over there in order to facilitate their spying on and repressing segments of their population. Apple, perhaps more eager to do whatever it takes to add to its pile of cash than is any other company, eagerly obliges Communist China in this. In other words, human rights are important--except in a country where it isn't profitable to promote them. In that case, Apple is perfectly willing not only to forget about human rights but to actively aid and abet their suppression. The next time you hear Apple criticizing our government for one of its "repressive" policies (good for PR in the U.S.), do a quick search online to see what Apple is saying about China's far more Draconian practices. Hint: Nothing (bad for business over there).
This is a long-winded example of the type of hypocritical, corrosive, profit-at-any-cost-or-method environment in which China's government operates economically. Companies like Apple fit with that model very well.
So, yes, it is high time that our government started blocking these transactions from over there, and it is high time that consumers start demanding more from companies like Apple over here. There are two sides to this coin, and it's time for all of us to get serious about it.