After the battle on Fortnite (remember that Epic Games is owned by Tencent), people expect an immediate Chinese reaction. But they forget one fundamental thing: China has more time available. And this strategic advantage is unassailable by the USA, which cannot re-engineer time.
Let's put the cards on the table: there is power and there is strength. The difference is that while the power can be taken from you, the strength is yours and remains yours. For this reason, it is always better to rely on one's strength than on one's power.
Is there a force that the US cannot take from the Chinese? Essentially yes: time. The Chinese president is in office for life, while in the current situation the US president is four years old.
If Trump wins, in fact, he will only remain in power for another 4 years.
If Biden wins, he would hardly go beyond 4.
Consequently, a 5/6 year long strategy is convenient for the Chinese, because no president would really be able to plan such a long strategy. (assuming Trump has a strategic vision, which so far would not be said).
And the funny thing is that the US is so focused on 4/8 year policies that they wouldn't even see the Chinese strategy in place.
If the Chinese wanted a short-term victory, it would be enough for them to ban Apple from Chinese territory. The downward jump in Apple's shares would be so immediate as to give a massive jolt to the American stock market and move congressional lobbyists.
But at that point the US president in charge of managing the crisis would be in office, and could react with another round of sanctions. And the first rule of strategy is to NEVER accept a fight in the place and at the time where your enemy wants it.
Instead, let's imagine a long-term strategy.
- 2/3 years to develop a family of processors entirely manufactured in China. China already knows how to produce CPUs, it does it for its military, "only" large silicon factories are missing. Since they have both the technology and the men, they just need a budget.
- together with the processors, the development of all network components, for carrier, access and SOHO networks, using the new chips.
- 2/3 years to impose their CPU on all devices from Huawei, ZTE, and in general on all Chinese brands, including computers.
- in the meantime, the Chinese PC operating system (which already exists and is mandatory for all important government offices, is a derivative of NetBSD developed by some Chinese universities) and the one for mobile devices (Huawei's) are completed and tested.
So let's say that in 5/6 years China has its own platform, completely abstruse from American control. It can therefore "propose" it to all countries under its influence (let's say 60% of Africa that counts) and to all countries interested in withdrawing from American technological dominance (Russia and others).
Obviously the construction of large silicon factories would not go unnoticed, and neither would the beta testing of a new operating system on a large scale. But what could an American president do?
Could you decide now on the sanctions that could be lifted by the successor? Difficult. Could you decide sanctions now on the grounds that the Chinese are building many advanced chip factories? Perhaps with a little propaganda, but on the Allied level it would have little success.
It would involve going to the leaders of allied countries, who are already skeptical of following the US against Huawei, and who in turn will not be in government in 5/6 years, asking to join a sanctions campaign, against something that perhaps will it happen when the US administration is different, and when the leaders themselves are perhaps no longer in power?
Let's imagine the scene: in four years Huawei inaugurates its own silicon factory, announcing that its new Risc-V (it is an opensource hardware architecture) will be on all phones, taking the place of the ARM ISA. And that will also be on their laptops, computers and all network appliances. But not only that: on the devices there will be only the new Huawei OS, to avoid problems with Android.
Obviously on the domestic market it would become dominant almost immediately, kicking out Apple and Android from the race.
We are in the middle of the American electoral campaign and whoever the president is, he knows he can't do anything about it. The outgoing president, be it Biden or Trump, cannot promise anything about it, because he is outgoing. The two challengers, whoever they are, know they arrived late . The factories are operational, the OS has already been tested, the Chinese market has already understood this, and the damage is irreversible. The telephone begins to be offered on the African market (where China has penetrated) and Russian, with which, in Poland and in Eastern Europe, as well as in the Caucasus, they begin to buy it. It spreads in Iran by contrast to the USA, and then Syria and Lebanon and part of the IRAQ.
If you are the US president can you do something about it? No. They are all areas that do not obey you, and it is even unclear whether this could be stopped in Turkey, despite being an ally.
At this point the new president should convince the allies that a platform from which the allies do not make a penny (the US GAFAM) must be protected, even at the cost of stopping Chinese investments on site, for the production of the processor in Europe (Huawei has already 'used on-site investment tactics in the past).
But I admit I imagined a VERY stinking case, because I said the Chinese chose the RISC-V platform, which is opensource. This means that, in theory, once its effectiveness has been proven, even European companies could use it, because the ISA of this CPU does not require you to pay for licenses, while in the case of ARM the cost is there.
In this case, it would be very difficult for the USA to curb this platform for the simple reason that being open anyone could make a compatible platform at home, and it would become a market problem and a choice of companies. They should have done it during its development, but the two previous presidents didn't have the rationale for doing it: they saw silicon factories being built for civilian use, but they couldn't build the case on it.
And if the announcement arrives immediately after the next elections, let's say in five or six years, it would be even worse: on the one hand, the technological inactivity of GAFAMs in the coming years (the latest big news on the SW market came from Chinese companies, like TikTok, Fortnite, WeChat, etc) will find a market hungry for news other than the iPhone 24, identical to the iPhone 23 and 25, and a PC world where even something like PINE64 seems revolutionary.
Obviously this is a scenario that I imagined: certainly the Chinese have their own hardware and OS platform produced in house (otherwise their armed forces could not function at the level they are) and therefore I am not sure they will use RISC-V. They could still open source their ISA, since they have a different copyright culture – that would be a really insidious move. I mentioned RISC-V because I see that the project sponsors are on the RISC-V website, and….
Also, I see things like this board are coming up
But whatever they do, to be stronger than the US, it needs only a strategy that spans more than four years. The US cannot have one that is as long in time.
So don't expect any sensational news from the Chinese. They will simply prepare a response that has the longest leg of both Trump and Biden .
But for the next few years they will suffer in silence.