Huawei Sanctioned by US, but Xiaomi Not: Netizens' Answers Go Viral

In a recent Quora post, a Singaporean netizen sought to explain why the United States sanctioned Huawei, a Chinese technology company, while leaving Xiaomi, another Chinese technology company, unscathed. The post, which quickly gained traction on Chinese social media, offered a nuanced perspective on the changing roles of Chinese companies in the global landscape, highlighting the challenges and opportunities faced by Huawei as a "disruptor."

The respondent, @Aya Shawn, a computer science master based in Singapore, categorized Chinese companies into four distinct stages of development, each reflecting their evolving position in the global economy.

Chinese Enterprise Version 1.0: Processing and Manufacturing

Prior to the 1980s, China's economic status lagged behind most developed nations. Throughout the 1990s and the early 2000s, China's economic growth was primarily driven by its ability to provide low-cost labor and resources for processing and manufacturing services to Western countries.

Chinese Enterprise Version 2.0: Independent Manufacturing

During this period of rapid development, China began to move beyond pure processing and manufacturing, focusing on technology to establish its own brands and market capabilities. Despite these advancements, Chinese companies remained reliant on patent licenses from Western countries and the import of critical components, limiting their ability to compete effectively in the global market.

Chinese Enterprise Version 3.0: Independent Production, Global Competition

By the second decade of the 21st century, Chinese companies had made significant strides in mastering core technologies, enabling them to produce and sell their products independently. This progress allowed Chinese companies to challenge traditional Western counterparts, becoming market leaders in various sectors. However, their reliance on Western software and operating systems left them vulnerable to potential sanctions, as demonstrated in Huawei's case.

Chinese Enterprise Version 4.0: Disruptors

In the third decade of the 21st century, Chinese companies are poised to enter a new era of disruption. Not only are they producing top-tier products, but they are also developing their own core components and basic software, aiming to fully sever their dependence on Western technology. This ambition to reshape the global technology landscape has placed Chinese companies like Huawei at the forefront of innovation.

Huawei: A Disruptor Facing US Sanctions

@Aya Shawn posits that Huawei's disruptive nature and its potential to challenge the United States' technological dominance have made it a target for US sanctions. Huawei's advancements in telecommunications and 5G pose a significant threat to the US's technological hegemony. Moreover, Huawei's self-sufficiency in terms of chips and operating systems further aggravates US concerns. As a result, the US has resorted to imposing sanctions, attempting to hinder Huawei's progress through "barbaric means" rather than engaging in fair competition.

Xiaomi: A Follower in the Global Market

In contrast, Xiaomi, as a representative of Chinese Enterprise Version 3.0, has achieved success by leveraging its competitive pricing and performance advantages. However, Xiaomi's reliance on American chips and operating systems limits its ability to disrupt the global technology landscape in the same way that Huawei does. While Xiaomi's success has raised eyebrows in the US, it has not triggered the same level of concern as Huawei's disruptive innovations.

Netizens' Reactions and Hopes for Chinese Companies

@Aya Shawn's analysis resonated with many foreign netizens, who acknowledged the differing threats posed by Huawei and Xiaomi to the US's technological dominance. However, some netizens also expressed optimism for the future of Chinese companies, highlighting their ongoing efforts to move away from American technology and establish their own independent ecosystems. They believe that Chinese companies are well-positioned to become disruptors in the global technology market, challenging the longstanding dominance of Western companies.

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