BEIJING: The contest to become leader in 5G technology is the next battleground between China and the US, the Bloomberg New Economy Forum heard in Beijing.
The latest generation of telecom technology has the power to transform the global economy, but has also become a hot political issue, according to a panel of experts from the industry.
Li Zixue, chairman of China’s ZTE Corporation and secretary of the communist party committee on telecommunications, said: “For China it means a fundamental change to industry and all aspects of the supply chain. But it will bring many issues with it, including security issues.”
ZTE and Huawei of China have led the way in 5G technology, but President Trump raised the stakes recently by asking Apple to manufacture the new technology in the US as part of his continuing trade confrontation with the Chinese.
The competition is set to go global. Nandan Nilekani, chairman of Indian tech giant Infosys, told the NEF session: “Some countries will chose both US and Chinese technologies, others will just go for one. But I think the US will be a great place for 5G because of its fixed wireless system, and the US will be a leader in 5G.”
Sanjay Mehrotra, CEO of US computer data company Micron Technology, said: “5G is going to be about leadership in telecoms, data and artificial intelligence, so it’s natural there will be a race between the US and China.”
Zixue said that 5G was important for the Chinese economy and the country’s “national psyche,” but added that there had to be cooperation between global technology firms.
“We should embrace 5G with an open and cooperative mentality. We have to work with the US and then all parties will enjoy the benefits and value of the new technology. All players should trust each other,” he said.