As TikTok’s global market influence was skyrocketing, the company was suppressed by the US government. Again, this shows how difficult it is for companies from China to go global. ByteDance said in a statement that it is “committed to becoming a global company.” But Washington will not easily let the company off just because of its good wishes.
The US’ decoupling from China starts from killing China’s most competitive companies. In the process, Washington ignores rules and is unreasonable. Although suppressing Huawei and TikTok also incurs losses to the US, the suppression can still be implemented in the US. This is because such suppression echoes the sense of crisis instigated by some US elites when facing China’s rise.
Huawei and ByteDance can only provide limited protection to themselves via legal means. But we should not overestimate the US’ sense of justice. The country has shown us too many examples of politics overwhelming everything else.
Objectively speaking, China, as a country, also has limited ability to provide protection to these Chinese companies by retaliating against US companies. China’s current market size is close to the total size of the US market. But the US enjoys technological superiority, the ability to affect the attitudes of its major allies, and the leverage of ideological mobilization. China’s opening-up to the outside world and disintegrating the US’ decoupling strategy should be priorities. All this has led to the complexity of China’s handling of US suppression.
China still has a long way to go to increase its national strength. We do not have a network of allies like that of the US, and we have to fight against the US’ ideological suppression. This being the case, even though China’s economic aggregate reaches the level of the US economy, China will still be strategically passive. Only when our economy is larger than that of the US by a large margin can we offset its advantages as a Western leader, and gradually gain a strategic initiative.
Huawei has advanced equipment, and ByteDance sells services to the world through unique concepts and technologies. The two companies are pioneers worldwide. They have brought a sense of crisis to US elites, which shows that China’s top companies have the ability to move to the forefront of the world in technology. It reflects the power of China as an emerging market. As long as such power continues to expand, these top Chinese companies can eventually break through US suppression.
By banning Huawei, the US would lag behind in 5G technology. By banning TikTok, the US would harm its own internet diversity and its belief in freedom and democracy. When similar things happen time and again, the US will take steps closer to its decline. The US is a pioneer in global internet and has created Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. But in recent years, the US’ internet structure has been rigid.
Rising stars such as ByteDance continue to emerge in Chinese internet sector, showing huge vitality. China knows its deficiencies, strives to become stronger, and adheres to opening-up to the world. The US, however, is gradually being shrouded in arrogance, seclusion and a negative attitude. Chinese people should not be discouraged by temporary setbacks, or our weaker position in the China-US confrontation. What’s important is that China’s trend of faster-pace progress has not changed.
We need to bravely admit our own weaknesses and know that the road ahead remains rough and bumpy. Meanwhile, we must see China’s progress being revealed in the current frictions and have full confidence in the future. Such positive and rational attitude will make China, the huge emerging economy, invincible.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an important issue, clearly showing us that the US has fallen into a type of systematic chaos. This will severely limit its ability to indefinitely upgrade and exert pressure on China. Many of the US practices, including banning TikTok, show the country’s weakening competitiveness. Can’t Facebook just come up with a more powerful app and beat TikTok in the market? The problem is Facebook cannot do it. It can only resort to the brute force of US politics.
Chinese needs to truly release the potential of domestic companies, fully release the Chinese people’s wisdom and Chinese companies’ creativity. This will be a protracted war. But the US’ seemingly tough moves from ideology to industrial policy have already foreshadowed the future trend.