Saudi Arabia counting down to unveil partnerships in space sector

The Saudi Space commission was established by a royal decree in late 2018 to stimulate space-related research and industrial activities. (Shutterstock)
The Saudi Space commission was established by a royal decree in late 2018 to stimulate space-related research and industrial activities. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 02 January 2021

Saudi Arabia counting down to unveil partnerships in space sector

Saudi Arabia counting down to unveil partnerships in space sector

JEDDAH: The Saudi Space Commission (SCC) is counting down to announce a set of preparatory partnerships to help propel the Kingdom’s role in the space sector, the agency’s chairman, Prince Sultan bin Salman, has revealed.
Once an integrated project proposal has been completed, it will be submitted to the Saudi government for approval and implementation, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The announcement was made during a signing ceremony between the commission and the Local Content and Government Procurement Authority (LCGPA).
The prince said: “This agreement comes within the partnership and integration methodology adopted between government agencies to enable the space sector to fulfil the directives of King Salman to establish a space-linked integrated industry, which has become a promising sector with economic contributions.”
The joint agreement will open new horizons for development in scientific research and innovation in the space industry, depending on local capabilities, particularly youth.
The Kingdom was planning an SR8 billion ($2.13 billion) boost for its space program as part of its Vision 2030 reform plan, Reuters reported in October.
The SSC was established by a royal decree in late 2018 to stimulate space-related research and industrial activities and is led by Prince Sultan, the first Saudi astronaut to travel to space.
 


Smartphone giant Xiaomi reels as US ramps up China blacklist

Smartphone giant Xiaomi reels as US ramps up China blacklist
Updated 2 min 46 sec ago

Smartphone giant Xiaomi reels as US ramps up China blacklist

Smartphone giant Xiaomi reels as US ramps up China blacklist
  • US Department of Defense ‘determined to counter China’s military-civil fusion development strategy’

HONG KONG: Shares in Xiaomi collapsed on Friday after the US blacklisted the smartphone giant and a host of other Chinese firms as the Trump administration aims to cement its trade war legacy against Beijing.
Beijing hit back at the latest sanctions, accusing the US of “abusing state power” to crack down on Chinese companies “for no reason.”
The flurry of last-minute blacklistings is the coda to four years of aggressive diplomatic and trade policies toward rival China under Donald Trump.
With just six days to go before the president leaves office, US officials made a series of announcements targeting Chinese firms including state oil giant CNOOC, Xiaomi and embattled social media favorite TikTok.
Xiaomi — which overtook Apple last year to become the world’s third-largest smartphone manufacturer — was one of nine firms classified by the Pentagon as “Communist Chinese military companies.”
The Pentagon’s action means US investors will be unable to purchase Xiaomi securities and will ultimately have to divest down the line unless the order is overturned by the incoming administration of Joe Biden.
Xiaomi is one of the biggest companies to be blacklisted so far and its shares plunged more than 10 percent in Hong Kong by the close of trading Friday after the announcement. US chip giant Qualcomm is a major investor.
The smartphone maker denied having links to China’s military and said in a statement it was “reviewing the potential consequences” of the new order.
But the US Department of Defense said it was “determined to highlight and counter the People’s Republic of China’s military-civil fusion development strategy” that allowed it to access key technology and security data.
Similar actions have been made by the US against other tech firms including Huawei and chip giant SMIC, hobbling their ability to import key technology and compete internationally.
“The Trump administration has broadened the concept of national security, abused state power and repeatedly cracked down on Chinese companies for no reason,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian Friday.
“China is firmly opposed to that.”

FASTFACT

Xiaomi denied having links to China’s military and said in a statement it was ‘reviewing the potential consequences’ of the new order.

Trump issued an executive order in November banning Americans from investing in Chinese companies deemed to be supplying or supporting the country’s military and security apparatus, earning a sharp rebuke from Beijing.
Earlier this month the New York Stock Exchange said it was delisting three state-owned Chinese telecoms giants to comply with the order.
The Commerce Department also released a separate banned entity list on Thursday targeting companies such as CNOOC and deep-water explorer Skyrison, which develops military equipment.
That makes it extremely difficult for US firms to export products or technology to those companies without a hard-to-obtain license.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said CNOOC had been listed because of “reckless and belligerent actions in the South China Sea and its aggressive push to acquire sensitive intellectual property and technology for its militarization efforts.”
“CNOOC acts a bully for the People’s Liberation Army to intimidate China’s neighbors, and the Chinese military continues to benefit from government civil-military fusion policies for malign purposes,” Ross said.
Territorial disputes in the South China Sea have festered for years, with Beijing building a series of artificial islands to expand its military and commercial reach in the contested region.
“CNOOC has repeatedly harassed and threatened offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction in the South China Sea, with the goal of driving up the political risk for interested foreign partners, including Vietnam,” the Commerce Department said.
CNOOC’s share price was less affected, falling a little more than 1 percent in Hong Kong on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department also announced new rules for trading in technology and communications equipment with “foreign adversaries” including China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela.
The rule will take effect in 60 days. The aim is to protect against data and national security vulnerabilities in software and hardware, and it would outline a six-month review process before any ban is implemented.
A senior administration official confirmed the new rule would apply to TikTok, the video app that Trump banned from operating in the US.