Meltdown and challenging times and profiting from market downturn


starbiz@thestar.com.my

https://youtu.be/Ue6N787O4SI

 

IT is trying times for everyone as the global financial world melts down but the order of the day is really to stop the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) so that some normality could return.

Ironically, two things seem to be rising amid the turmoil – the demand for toilet paper caused serious fights in supermarkets across the globe and this has gone viral across various networks.

The other is the US dollar. Its rise has many reasons.

Everything else, including stock markets, oil, bonds, commodities, currencies and bitcoin are plunging to new lows with no clear signs of immediate reversal. Just in a month the FBM KLCI is down by 20% while the Dow Jones Industrial average 31%.

The rise in demand for toilet paper cannot be comprehended but the rise of the US dollar in a mayhem is understandable. Corporations across the global are rushing to draw down credit lines and seek the US dollar for their funding needs.

In fact, people are scrambling for the US dollar and as a report said “world markets are still very, very nervous …people are scrambling for cash any way they can.’’

Ringgit against the US dollar has reached the RM4.41 range.

Bonds are also seeing the biggest wave of withdrawals since 2017 and gold has fallen as there are concerns of a global economic recession.

The timing of the Saudi Arabia-russia oil price war was shocking and a report said it is a “risky move likely to further destabilise a world economy that is already wobbly with the pandemic.’’

Oil has plummeted to about US$30 a barrel and experts believe it could plunge to US$20 a barrel though the Us-trump Administration may intervene as US producers are suffering from the historic crash in prices.

Amid all these fears, governments across the globe are coming out with stimulus packages to help its citizens and businesses. It is a much needed aid as many countries have enforced total lockdown and people on daily jobs need money for survival. The US alone is forking out US$1 trillion in aid. Other countries have set aside billions of dollars including Malaysia Rm20bil.

StarBiz compiled by B.K. SIDHU & EUGENE MAHALINGAM

Profiting from market downturn

Investment strategy: The benefit of dollar-cost averaging is that you don’t have to monitor the price movement and you don’t have to make a decision every time you want to invest. In fact, dollar-cost averaging is quite a no-brainer strategy.

MOST people tend to be very bearish about the stock market after a crash. In fact, most investors would feel that it would be best to avoid the stock market for now.

Some may even want to cut their current investment losses and get out of their investments in equities, even though seasoned investors would tell you that the best opportunity to enter the market would be after a market crash

Following the recent global stock market downturn, market sentiments, the desire and motivation to invest is at an all-time low. Understandably so, after all, once bitten twice shy.

However, the legendary “Oracle of Omaha” and one of the most successful investor of all time, Warren Buffett, once said that as an investor, it is wise to be “fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.”

It’s hard, if not impossible, to convince oneself to invest when the whole world is panicking.

On one hand, you think the market crash is so sharp that you are fearful it may drop even further. On the other hand, you can clearly see that premium stocks are now trading at a great discount, and hence now would be a great opportunity to snap them up. What should you do?

If this is your dilemma, there’s an investment strategy that can help you to take advantage of the market downturn and allay your fear: the method is called dollar-cost averaging.

How dollar-cost averaging operates

Dollar-cost averaging is a strategy to invest a specific amount of money in the market at routine intervals (monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or yearly). Done right, you can protect yourself against fluctuations and downside risk in the market.

For example, instead of investing a lump sum of, say, RM120,000, you invest RM10,000 a month over one year. By doing this, you average out the cost of investments over an extended period of time. This is to make sure you don’t invest all your money at the peak of the market.

On the other hand, this strategy works especially well in an extended market downturn (like what you expect now) as you will keep buying at lower and lower prices until the market recovers.

For example, you invest RM1,000 in an equity unit trust fund at RM1 per unit. So, you end up with 1,000 units. The following month, you invest another RM1,000 in the same fund but because the unit price has dropped to 50 sen, you end up with 2,000 units.

So, what is the average cost of all your units? If your answer is 75 sen, you’re wrong. That’s because you have used the arithmetic mean (RM1+50sen/2>75 sen). You should use the harmonic mean.

This is how to calculate the average cost of all your units correctly: Your total investment is RM2,000 and you have 3,000 units of the fund. Divide RM2,000 by 3,000 units and the average cost is 67 sen. This means by using harmonic mean calculation, dollar-cost averaging gives a lower average cost.

How it helps you to profit from current market

Now, let’s see how we can apply dollar-cost averaging strategy to the current market scenario. You’re bearish about the market and think it will go down for another six months.

Dollar-cost averaging works well if you believe the market will continue to go down.

With reference to Table 1, if you invest RM1,000 a month for the next 12 months, you would have invested RM12,000 and accumulated 25,648 units at the end of the period. At 80 sen (which is lower than the original price), your investment value at the end of the period is RM20,518 (80 sen x 25,648 units).

It means that you would have gained RM8,518 (RM20,518 – RM12,000). That’s a 71% gain over 12 months, despite the fund price being beaten down by as much as 78% (90 sen – RM0.20 = 70 sen, then divided by 90 sen = 78%).

Why it can help you

Dollar-cost averaging is a discipline that can help investors overcome their emotion, dilemma and other human feeling when it comes to investing, be it fear or greed. We’re always tempted to invest when the market is high and so we end up buying high instead of buying low. With dollar-cost averaging, we’re automatically programmed to buy less units at higher prices and more units at lower prices instead.

Thus when the market crashes and prices are low like now, we would be empowered to invest, not react out of fear.

For this strategy to work, you would need to invest a specific amount of money at specific intervals, say RM10,000 a month over one year, no matter what the market condition is in. If you think that the market may crash and rebound in a shorter period, you may want to implement the strategy within one month. For example, RM30,000 a week over a one-month period. It does not matter which interval, what’s important is that it’s done consistently.

Your current investment strategy to buy only when the price has dropped to a certain “attractive” level is commendable. However, to execute this strategy well, you must be disciplined enough to monitor the market movement closely and spend time and energy to decide when would be the right time to buy the investment.

The benefit of dollar-cost averaging is that you don’t have to monitor the price movement and you don’t have to make a decision every time you want to invest. In fact, if you’d ask me, dollar-cost averaging is quite a no-brainer strategy.

How to make dollar-cost averaging work better

Dollar-cost averaging offers the most benefit when you invest in investments whose prices are highly volatile (move up or down in a big quantum).

An investment that is highly volatile is often perceived as a risky investment. However, this risk plays to your advantage when dollar-cost averaging is applied. How so? The strategy helps to perform an efficient accumulation of investment units. When a particular investment drops significantly in price, you get to accumulate more units. The bigger the drop, the more units you accumulate, thus your accumulation is more efficient (you get to buy the units at a cheaper price).

In comparison, if you invest in an investment that has low volatility, the drop in price would be too small and you can only accumulate a few units, thus rendering your accumulation to be less efficient.

Therefore, when you apply dollar-cost averaging strategy on your unit trust portfolio, go for equity funds. Avoid money market funds or bond funds.

Warning: Don’t apply dollar-cost averaging strategy on a single share. There’s usually an underlying reason why the price of a particular share is in a continuous downward trend. In such circumstances, there’s no assurance that the price will ever go up when the whole market rebound. Worst, the share may not even survive the tough economic crisis and ends up getting delisted.

Do remember that for dollar-cost averaging to work, your chosen investment must be resilient enough to rebound when stock market recovers.

Dollar-cost averaging is best suited if you have a portfolio of equity unit trust funds that is diversified into various regions, so that risks is spread across the share of many companies.

Act on it

To truly benefit from dollar-cost averaging, you have to apply it to your investments. During the implementation process, your resolve would be tested.

There will be times where you will be tempted to abandon the strategy especially when the price of your investment has dropped even further.

Do not waver! Be discipline in executing your strategy and enjoy the gains when the market recovers. Onwards and upwards.

– Yap Ming Hui (ymh@whitman.com.my) is thrilled that his mission to empower every Malaysian with a roadmap to financial freedom has finally come to fruition with the release of a free DIY roadmap to financial freedom tool on the iWealth mobile app. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.

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Covid-19 outbreak likely to peak by next month


“Do you ever see the American and other Western media blaming the American democratic political system for failing to address the deaths from influenza and pneumonia?” – Tan Teng Boo: 

Recovery rate has also been gaining momentum

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians have a higher chance of being involved in a car accident than being infected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), according to Capital Dynamics Sdn Bhd managing director Tan Teng Boo.

The number of deaths per 100,000 people for car accidents in the country is 21.25 persons while for Covid-19 in China, it is 0.04 persons per 100,000.

As of Tuesday, there were 74,424 Covid-19 cases with 1,874 deaths globally. A total of 13,100 people have recovered.

Tan expected Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at between 3.5% and 4.0% this year, given various external challenges.

He expected the Covid-19 outbreak to peak soon, either by this month or the next month, considering that the recovery rate has also been gaining momentum at 14,689 cases globally as of yesterday.

Tan said once the outbreak has peaked, China would be able to stabilise from the epidemic and the country’s economic situation could improve.

This is especially with China being the biggest source of economic growth for the global economy for the last 15 to 20 years.

Tan said that based on statistics, the common flu is a deadlier menace.

The Centre of Disease Control and Prevention estimated that from Oct 1, 2019 through Feb 8, 2020 there have been between 14,000 and 36,000 flu deaths.

Tan said that tens of thousands of Americans die from influenza and pneumonia every year.

“Why are the other countries not banning flights to the United States or why are the people not quarantined? Do you ever see the New York Times or The Washington Post write about this?”

“Do you ever see the American and other Western media blaming the American democratic political system for failing to address the deaths from influenza and pneumonia?”

He added that the Covid-19 outbreak is happening in China because it is still a developing country, the largest in the world. Despite 40 years of robust economic growth and development, China is still far behind the United States in gross domestic per capita.

The rate of a disease’ ability to spread would depend on if (a) the people have been vaccinated, (b) have had the disease before or (c) if there is no way to control the disease.

“In the Covid-19 outbreak, conditions a and b apply and are beyond the control of the Chinese government. The measures taken by the Chinese authorities are essentially aimed at overcoming condition c,” he said.

If the Chinese government did not quarantine the major cities in the Hubei province on Jan 23, the situation could have been worse.

“Imagine just half of the infected people traveling all over the place? Imagine how many thousands of people would be infected in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, the UK, US, Australia and many more.

“Imagine as a result, the New York stock market tumbles, or Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris and London and many popular Chinese tourist destinations filled with empty shops. Imagine the adverse impact such a widespread crisis would have on the global economy,” he added.

He pointed out that investors should get the facts right in order to have an accurate perspective.

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China announces biggest drop in new virus cases in almost a month

https://www.thesundaily.my/world/china-announces-biggest-drop-in-new-virus-cases-in-almost-a-month-HC2026382

Flu outbreak reveals US’ true colors

While people in China and around the world are actively cooperating to combat the novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) outbreak, some US politicians and media are making accusations against China, questioning the effectiveness of its response to the epidemic. However, the US sees frequent outbursts of influenza, and its government
not only reacts with extremely low efficiency but also remains silent. The contrast has revealed a US double standard.

US politicians aim to turn COVID-19 combat into political war against China ‘vicious’

Some US politicians, including Rick Scott, are trying to turn a public health disaster that nations should face together into a political war against China.

Why doesn’t the Wall Street Journal have the courage to apologize?

Obviously, the WSJ should realize that it has made a stupid mistake. However, it still refuses to apologize and squarely face up to the error, let alone shoulder the responsibility of a respected news outlet.

 

 
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Jack Ma Ends 20-Year Reign Over Alibaba Wealth Creation Empire


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Hong Kong in decline


Losing ground: China’s spectacular rise has affected Hong Kong’s thriving financial services industry, along with development of port services. – Reuters

https://youtu.be/elH1PrASTAU

 

TWO generations ago cheap goods from Hong Kong were labelled simply “Made in Hong Kong,” but their poor quality soon made that embarrassing.

For marketing reasons they were then labelled “Made in the British Empire” or “Empire Made.” Britain, home of the First Industrial Revolution, was better regarded than any Far Eastern outpost.

However, manufacturing could never suffice for Hong Kong’s economy because of limited land and rising property prices.

Enter the space-efficient financial services industry, along with development of port services. Then a generation ago Hong Kong began to face its biggest challenge: China’s spectacular rise.

But if Hong Kong would be part of China again, wouldn’t it also enjoy the mainland’s rising fortunes?

Hong Kongers always had a problem with the first part ever since Britain’s takeover in 1841.

From the late-1970s the West was all for China’s “opening up” policies. Hong Kongers looked across the water to see Shenzhen’s phenomenal rise from old market town to bustling modern metropolis.

Shenzhen had twice Hong Kong’s population and a much faster rate of development. As just one cog in China’s production behemoth, Shenzhen soon buried Hong Kong’s prospect as a manufacturing centre.

In global references Hong Kong-Shenzhen-Guangzhou is the world’s biggest productive mega region, demographically twice the size of the next biggest in Nagoya-Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe.

But Hong Kongers still regarded themselves as a breed apart from the mainland – a “Made in the British Empire” attitude dies hard.

Surely Hong Kong still had superlative status as a leading port and financial services centre?

Not quite, especially when Shanghai would soon outclass it on both counts.

Hong Kong slipped to fifth place among the world’s busiest container ports. Among the world’s Top 10, six are now on China’s mainland.

The Shanghai Municipality’s population is 3.5 times Hong Kong’s, with an area 5.7 times as large, meaning a more relaxed population density of just 62% of Hong Kong’s.

Shanghai’s 2018 nominal GDP was US$494bil (RM2.04 trillion), which was 136.1% of Hong Kong’s. Even Shenzhen is catching up with Hong Kong, falling short by just 3.3%.

Business is Hong Kong’s business, but the mainland is doing better in both performance and prospects.

The Hong Kong stock market is not necessarily stable. Since the 1960s it has experienced a dozen market crashes.

Shanghai’s Stock Exchange market capitalisation of US$5.01 trillion is larger than Hong Kong’s by 26.5%. Hong Kong’s exceeded Shenzhen’s by only 12.8%.

Hong Kong as business enclave has been eclipsed and outdone by the mainland. At the same time its future increasingly depends on the mainland.

Since 1997, Hong Kong dropped from representing 20% to just 3% of China’s GDP.

For China today Hong Kong is just another Chinese city, meaning it is dispensable. Shenzhen and the rest of the mainland do not need a nettlesome Hong Kong for China’s continued rise.

Hong Kong protesters have committed at least a dozen strategic errors.

  1. One, they assume Hong Kong is essential to the mainland’s future when only the reverse is true. There is no equivalence between Hong Kong and the mainland in any way that works for Hong Kong.
  2. Two, protest appeals to mainlanders for support mistakenly attempt to rekindle the spirit of Tienanmen Square protests a generation ago. Those protesters are now part of the system in a prosperous new China, actively engaged in business or government. Their original 1989 complaint of corruption in high places is keenly addressed by Beijing.
  3. Three, attempts to solicit mainlanders’ support are badly confused with prejudice against them. Within days of trying to spread the protest message to mainlanders in July, protesters attacked mainland traders, shoppers and tourists.
  4. Four, protesters violently attacked police personnel, alienating many Hong Kongers including most protesters. It signalled a slide towards civil disorder.
  5. Five, vandalising the Legislative Council building established illegal conduct and further alienated everyone else.
  6. Six, more violence was targeted at the liaison office when sympathisers had thought protesters would never do that. It confirmed the criminality discrediting the protests as a whole.
  7. Seven, besides disrupting traffic and commerce, harassing passengers at the airport and train stations. It did nothing to promote their cause to the general public but quite the opposite.
  8. Eight, protests did not subside even after Hong Kong’s Executive backed down on the extradition Bill. It revealed the unreasonable nature of the protests.
  9. Nine, no protester had demanded democracy for Hong Kong in 156 years of British colonial rule. If they had, they may have a legitimate basis for demanding democracy today.
  10. Ten, it was foolish to unfurl the Union Jack and call for reverting to British rule. Seeking the denial of democracy by a foreign hand exposes the hypocrisy of the protests.
  11. Eleven, it was foolhardy to unfurl “Old Glory,” calling for US intervention during a US-China trade war. With trade a major basis of Hong Kong’s survival, it was politically suicidal.
  12. Twelve, protesters fail to understand that no other country can or would do what is necessary to boost Hong Kong’s fortunes. Only the mainland can do that if it wants to.

Young protesters still to find employment amid poor conditions and rising costs may think they have legitimate grievances.

Yet all the solutions – more investment, better job prospects, even improved governance – can come meaningfully only via the mainland.

Beijing can deploy troops to Hong Kong, but to what end?

Hong Kong’s worst punishment is getting exactly what the protesters want – isolation. That will leave it further behind as the mainland prospers, surging ahead.

Hong Kong can stew in its own juices until tender. Beijing may let the anger fester and rot until then.

Hong Kong’s strength as money-making hub is also its weakness. Its stock market can crash again, which can also send a message to Taiwan.

Hong Kong tycoons are already looking for more places abroad to stash their fortunes. Without decisive mainland investment, the economic enclave can die a natural death.

What’s left of Hong Kong’s Establishment will then surely discipline rowdy mobs. The triads have already shown leadership here, symbolising the decline.

By Bunn Nagara, a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia. The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

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Trade war spurs 1,360% investment jump in Malaysian state of Penang


The Malaysian state of Penang is winning from global investors’ search for safe havens, amid the U.S.-China trade tensions.

Foreign direct investments into its manufacturing sector surged 1,360% to 8.47 billion ringgit (US$2 billion) in the first quarter from a year ago, more than for the entire 2018. The state stands to gain from changes in the global supply chain as it’s well-connected with a strong talent pool and supportive public policies, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said in a Wednesday statement.

The state, already home to companies from Intel Corp. to Dell Technologies Inc., makes up 42% of Malaysia’s manufacturing FDI. Recent investments in Penang include U.S. semiconductor company Micron Technology Inc’s new solid-state drive assembly and testing centre, and Florida-based Jabil Circuit Inc’s purchase of 20 acres of land to expand its facility.

“Malaysia is reaping benefits from business relocation, as well as trade and investment diversions caused by the trade war,” Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said in a Thursday statement, adding that the rise in investments as well as industrial production signal “healthy” economic growth in the second quarter.

Chow is wary of the near-term outlook and cautions that the investment surge may not be repeated in the second or third quarters. While some companies benefit from the trade war, others are negatively affected as their customers take a wait-and-see approach, he said. Penang’s investment outlook remains “on the right track” over the medium to long term, Chow said.

The state had moved quickly to court investors amid the trade war, signing a cooperation deal with China Chamber of International Commerce, giving subsidized rental rates for small businesses and setting up a seed fund for technology start ups.- Bloomberg

Penang bags big jump in investments 

More than RM8bil recorded in the first quarter of the year

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and State Tourism Development, Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin speaking during a press conference at KOMTAR. - LIM BENG TATT/The Star
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and State Tourism Development, Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin speaking during a press conference at KOMTAR. – LIM BENG
TATT/The Star

THE state recorded RM8.85bil in total approved manufacturing investments in the first quarter of 2019, exceeding the RM5.78bil it received for the whole of last year.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the investments in the first quarter were 768% higher than the investments in the same period in 2018.

“Penang garnered 41 projects at the start of this year,” he said at a press conference held at his office in Komtar.

“They amount to RM8.85bil and will bring in more than 10,000 jobs.

“The state is a key contributor to the country’s foreign direct manufacturing investment (FDI), representing 42% of the country’s total FDI.”

Chow highlighted the many attractions of Penang for investors.

“We boast a robust supply chain, strong talent pool, well-established infrastructure and support services to investors.

‘The combination of all these advantages makes Penang a preferred destination for investments.”

He was quoting the latest data from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida).

However, Chow was more cautious about the business climate later this year.

He said that while Penang could remain a preferred investment destination in the mid to long run, the US-China trade war would have a huge impact in the coming two quarters of the year.

“We believe the meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping later this month will be crucial.

“We feel our stellar performance in the first quarter might not be repeated in the second and third quarters of this year.

“Nevertheless, Penang’s investment outlook is on the right track over the medium to long term.

“The state government will continue to focus on bringing in high quality investments that can create high-value jobs and suit the state’s industry profile,” he said.

Penang’s approved manufacturing investments rise more than seven-fold in 1Q19

Penang attracted approved investments worth RM8.8 billion in the manufacturing sector in the first quarter (1Q) of 2019, up 763% from RM1.02 billion in the same period last year.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said despite the intensifying trade and technology disputes between the United States and China that created uncertainties in the global trade and economic outlook, Penang remained a favoured investment destination.

“According to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), from January to March this year, Penang successfully garnered 41 projects amounting to RM8.85 billion, which represented 35% of Malaysia’s total approved investments in manufacturing,” he told a press conference here today.

The approved manufacturing investments in 1Q19 had already surpassed the full-year approved investment figure of RM5.8 billion in 2018, he said, adding that they were expected to create 10,073 job opportunities in Penang.

Of the total investments approved in the quarter under review, foreign direct investment accounted for RM8.47 billion while the rest was domestic investment, Chow said.

“The optimal combination of robust supply chain, strong talent pool, well-established infrastructure and the state’s support services to investors makes Penang a preferred destination for investments,” he said.

However, Chow, who is also the chairman of the Penang Strategic Investment Advisory Council, said while Penang could be a preferred investment destination in the middle to long run, he was cautiously optimistic on the near-term outlook due to the latest trade war development.

He said there was a truce in the trade war in 1Q but the situation had worsened since.

“US President Donald Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on another US$300 billion of Chinese exports to the US, and the meeting between Trump and China’s leader Xi Jinping later this month is crucial,” he said.

He also cautioned that the superb investment performance in the manufacturing sector in 1Q might not be repeated in the second and third quarters; however, Penang’s investment outlook would be on the right track over the medium to longer term.

“Through InvestPenang, the Penang government will continue to focus on bringing in high quality investments that would create high value jobs and suit the state’s industry profile,” he said.- The Edge Market.
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Pride and prejudice


THE United States ranks low in the credibility stakes. It can no longer wax lyrical about free trade and fair play because the world now knows that when it finds itself facing stiff competition, it uses a ruling the magnitude of a nuclear bomb to retaliate.

Firstly, US president Donald Trump declared a national emergency and barred American companies from doing business with companies deemed a national security risk.

Then, companies like Google and Microsoft stopped making software and services available to Huawei, China’s biggest smartphone vendor.

The ban essentially means that future Huawei phones will no longer get Google play apps, YouTube, and almost certainly no updates to Android Q or other platform-level upgrades since these would require Google’s sign-off, too.

Sure, you can still make calls or use WeChat and other Chinese platforms, but for users in most parts of the world, the phone is pretty much useless.

Word is that Huawei poses a security risk, but no clarification has been forthcoming to what these threats include exactly.

There is a sense of déjà vu here.

The world was once told by the US and its allies that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, but we learnt in the end there were none. Now, we have the Iran threat, but that’s another story all together.

From what little info has trickled into the worldwide web, the suggestion is that Chinese-manufactured devices have hidden back doors that could potentially allow an attacker to gain special access.

It sounds like a script excerpt from a James Bond movie, with spooks using a master password to break into high security facilities.

But incredibly, Huawei and ZTE Corp, another telecommunications equipment manufacturer, were cleared by the US House of Representatives permanent select committee on intelligence.

The two had been accused of providing “incomplete, contradictory and evasive responses to the committee’s core concerns” during their year-long investigation on the threat they supposedly pose to American interests.

In the end, the committee found no concrete evidence of infringement. But that didn’t stop the two companies from being labelled a national security risk and getting kicked out of the US.

IS, the German internet security watchdog, inspected Huawei laboratories in Germany and found no evidence of espionage, and The New York Times quoted American officials saying that the case against the company had “no smoking gun – just a heightened concern about the firm’s rising technological dominance”.

Rightly or wrongly, in the game of perception, the US has lost its moral ground. Thanks, in many ways, to an impulsive president.

Most of the world’s population thinks the bullying of Huawei is simply Trump’s hallmark. It isn’t about a security risk, but an economic threat.

Outside China, Huawei is arguably the most successful Chinese consumer brand so far. Thanks to a good and relatively cheaper product, it is now the second largest phone vendor in the world.

One strong accusation levelled at Huawei is that it enjoys Chinese government backing, and that China uses its spies to steal US technology for these private companies.

It’s a really warped perspective because, using the same logic, why is the US president taking such a hard line against a private company that’s merely selling phones?

The answer could well lie in the technology race.

Now, it’s about who launches 5G first, the next generation of mobile broadband imminently replacing 4G.

With 5G, we will see exponentially faster download and upload speeds. Huawei is widely renowned for being 12 months ahead of its competitors in the 5G race.

It began to develop its own 5G technology in as early as 2009. In 2013, Huawei hired more than 300 top experts from the wireless industry around the world and announced that they had invested US$600mil (RM2.5bil) in 5G research.

In 2016, Huawei set up a 5G product line for such devices.

What started as a three-man company now has thousands of employees engaged in 5G product development. Following this, in 2017, and then in 2018, Huawei invested almost US$1.4bil (RM5.8bil) in 5G product development.

The South China Morning Post has, however, also reported that apart from its tremendous commercial benefits, 5G – the fifth generation of mobile communication – is revolutionising military and security technology, which is partly why it has become a focal point in the US’ efforts to contain China’s rise as a tech power, and the Western nation’s allegations against Chinese companies is simply symptomatic of its insecurities.

“The future landscape of warfare and cybersecurity could be fundamentally changed by 5G.

“But experts say 5G is more susceptible to hacking than previous networks, at a time of rising security concerns and US-China tensions on various interconnected fronts that include trade, influence in the Asia-Pacific region and technological rivalry.

“These tensions provide the backdrop to controversy surrounding Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms equipment supplier.”

It’s also a fight between China and the US on who leads the artificial intelligence domain, as with 5G advancements, it means “whereas existing networks connect people to people, the next generation will connect a vast network of sensors, robots and autonomous vehicles through sophisticated artificial intelligence.

“The so-called Internet of Things will allow objects to ‘communicate’ with each other by exchanging vast volumes of data in real time, and without human intervention.

“Autonomous factories, long-distance surgery or robots preparing your breakfast – things that previously existed only in science fiction – will be made possible.

“Meanwhile, though, it is being identified by many military experts as the cornerstone of future military technology,” the newspaper reported.

As TV personality Trevor Noah says, humorously, in his show, the 5G war isn’t just about “loading an entire movie in three seconds but about the Chinese spying – which the US also wants to do.”

He sarcastically added that “the US is losing the 5G race and luckily, we have a maniac in our team who’s willing to play dirty.”

As the battle rages on, spilling into the already acrimonious US-China trade war, the controversy has become more bitter, and complicated, with the US egging its allies to ban Huawei from building its next generation of mobile phone networks. So far, Britain, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have either banned Huawei or are reviewing whether to do so.

Japan, a US ally, seems to have been dragged into the propaganda of persecuting Huawei, too.

In China, the actions against Huawei have stirred a storm of nationalism, with the Chinese calling for a boycott of iPhone, a reaction which could eventually affect other American and European products, at the rate things are escalating.

Even within the Chinese diaspora, the messages of unequivocal support for Huawei have gone viral in the world’s social media sphere.

The irony is that the iPhone is not only assembled in China, but its very inception starts in that country at a much earlier stage, and from a much deeper part of the earth, too.

At least 90% of rare earth minerals – naturally occurring solids whose combination comprises essential iPhone parts – are mined in China, notably in Mongolia, it’s reported.

“Lanthanides, scandium, yttrium and some other alien-sounding names at the bottom of the periodic table (remember your secondary school?) make the iPhone ‘light, bright and loud.’ Its colour screen, glass polishing, circuitry, speakers and vibration unit come from a mix of these rare earth minerals,” it says in Finances Online.

The report added that where American companies would take months to pool thousands of industrial engineers, and even more months to construct new assembly lines to accommodate a trivial but urgent change in an iPhone spec (say, its glass panel needing to curve to hatch on the body six weeks prior to launching), it only takes 15 days in China to do the same.

“To put it in perspective, one production line in China can assemble 72,000 iPhone 5 back plates daily; one factory can have four to five production lines and China can have as much as a hundred of these factories, opening or closing a few of them depending on the current demand.

“The last part – opening and closing plants like a mom-and-pop store – is almost impossible in an American economy.

“It is no longer a city counting the number of manufacturing plants it has, but the manufacturing plant can be counted as a city in many Asian economic zones.”

And it’s common knowledge that Mickey Mouse merchandise is made in China, and likewise all the branded sportswear sold globally. The profits these companies are raking in are simply down to the low cost of operation.

Trump should know and do better. Instead of threatening and bullying Huawei with trumped up charges, he should urge American companies to be more competitive, make better products and keep prices low.

I am dumping my iPhone, upgrading my South Korean Samsung and for the first time, getting myself a Huawei. I hear the camera is really good, and it doesn’t even need a zoom lens for magnification. And that sophistication comes from a license to thrill.

By Wong Chun Wai

Wong Chun Wai began his career as a journalist in Penang, and has served The Star for over 27 years in various capacities and roles. He is now editorial and corporate affairs adviser to the group, after having served as group managing director/chief executive officer.

On The Beat made its debut on Feb 23 1997 and Chun Wai has penned the column weekly without a break, except for the occasional press holiday when the paper was not  published. In May 2011, a compilation of selected articles of On The Beat was published as a book and launched in conjunction with his 50th birthday. Chun Wai also comments on current issues in The Star.

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China digs in for protracted trade fight with US – The Sun Daily

 

Commentary: China fights U.S. trade bullying with “Long March” spiri

Trade war gives US unfavorable image

US President Donald Trump on Thursday announced a $16 billion aid package for farmers to offset their losses from the trade war with China. He said the package “will be paid for by the billions of dollars” from tariffs on Chinese imports.

Bannon promotes economic fascism

All Chinese companies wishing to get to the high-tech mountaintop should learn from Huawei’s composed example. If only there were a group of Chinese companies sharing intellectual property with foreign partners, then certain malicious forces would hesitate at a crackdown.

Fast economic development best way to deal with security challenge

China’s economic potential is far greater than that of the US, the largest economy. There is no doubt that China’s economic prospects are the best in the world. These facts drive China’s core competitiveness. They will make Washington feel its ability falls short of its wishes when it comes to containing Beijing.

US orchestrates self-defeating maneuvers

Chinese people do not know whether we should call US approaches hegemonic politics or profiteering politics. But in short, they are crooked means. The threat of tariffs will not work. Neither will US threats against Chinese companies create a shock wave against China. The US is picking a wrong opponent at a wrong time. It will find no way of crafting a good result from a strategic mistake.

Growing US pressure won’t force China to submit

The US is having a profound effect on the global economic order by abusing national security and trampling on commercial principles. Current US administration is destroying the reputation and national image that generations of Americans have built. Such arrogance and hegemony are by no means good signs for the US.

China won’t flinch in face of tough-talking US


The US will raise tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports effective Friday, according to a notice posted to the Federal Register.

The announcement was made at 8:45 pm on May 8 (Beijing time). At 11:23 pm, the Chinese Minister of Commerce said that China will have to take necessary countermeasures if the US goes ahead with its plan to increase tariffs on Chinese imports. Although China’s announcement was made in a calm and peaceful manner, it has shown the country’s unswerving resolution to defend its own interests.

Washington has lit the fuse on escalating China-US trade tensions. Beijing had announced it would send a delegation for the May 9 consultations before Washington’s May 8 announcement. At this critical time, Washington’s imprudent move is clearly an extreme means of sending an alarming message to China. Washington must have expected the Chinese delegation would rush to the US and seize every opportunity to reverse the situation. Instead, the Chinese delegation decided to fly to the US one day later than originally planned. This is the way Chinese express their will and determination.

The 11th round of China-US trade talks in Washington on May 9 looks like a “Banquet at Hongmen.” On the one hand, Washington is lighting a fuse on escalating trade tensions; and on the other they still want to continue negotiating with the Chinese delegation. By doing so, they have set a new precedent in the history of trade talks.

Many people may ask: Under such circumstances, why is Beijing still sending the delegation to Washington? In fact, it’s really Washington that should be answering the question: Under such circumstances, why is the Chinese delegation invited to Washington for more trade talks?

The answer is simple. Both China and the US want to finalize a trade deal. Obviously, there are some issues that are difficult to overcome for both sides. It seems that both are now mentally prepared for a transition from truce talks to the mode of “fighting and talking” at the same time.

It is a great pity that after meeting halfway on most of their differences, China and the US have not been able to reach consensus on the last few core issues. Those issues are not supposed to come up as they specifically reflect the unreasonable demands by the US. Their emergence is rooted in the misguided perception that the US is privileged by its strength. That misconception has also motivated the latest unexpected tariff rise announced by Washington.

China has turned down the US demands at the final stage of negotiation. It was not only encouraged by its strength, but also motivated by its belief in the principle of equality. China is not afraid of conflict with the US at the last moment. In the face of the “big stick” of the US tariff threats, China has once again demonstrated its confidence in coping with an escalated trade war.

Since neither side has given up on the idea of making a deal, and it is the ultimate goal of both countries, the latest round of China-US trade talks is expected to be conducted in a climate of uncertainty, including that of a looming escalated trade war. Such a scenario has rarely been seen in the history of trade talks.

Will the US hit the brakes on the trade war at the last minute? Chinese want to know the answer to that question, but Americans are more concerned. Washington has found itself caught in a dilemma between its ambition to gain the upper hand in trade over China and its desire to minimize any negative impacts on its stock market. Beijing is serious about both trade talks and trade wars. Now, it is fully ready to switch to the mode of “fighting and talking.”

China is well prepared for an escalation in trade tensions. A variety of plans are in place, such as countermeasures for any tariff rise, and favorable policies to minimize losses for Chinese enterprises. Mentally and materially, China is much better prepared than its US counterpart.

In the face of the imminent, unique “Banquet at Hongmen,” Chinese have full confidence in their delegation. Members of the Chinese delegation not only have the experience and wisdom to cope with the situation, but they also have the firm support and trust of the entire Chinese society.

Undoubtedly, the delegation will bring both the strong will and goodwill of the Chinese government and people to Washington at this critical juncture.

If there is a new round of tariff conflicts, it would be a repeat, or an enhanced version of what happened in the past. It would definitely incur losses for China and the US, losses that are both direct and indirect, explicit and implicit. Anyway, the total scale of losses on both sides would be roughly the same. If Washington has its mind set on going back down the path of a trade war, then China will fight it to the end. China has always had a firm stand on a trade war: China does not want it; China is not afraid of it; China will launch it when necessary.

Seeking fairness and justice on the global stage sometimes requires a huge price. It also can be costly for different parties to reach consensus. In the past year, China and the US have been locked in a trade war and have had 10 rounds of trade talks. However, the two sides have failed to meet each other halfway to make a deal. Many are wondering how much it will cost the two countries before a final agreement is made. If the latest round of talks in Washington fails to solve the puzzle, then the two countries will have to keep searching for the answer in the future.- Global Times

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China ready for any outcomes in trade talks with US

US President Donald Trump’s threat of increased tariffs
on Chinese goods has added more uncertainty to trade talks with China.
Some observers are worried that a tough stance may be …

Source: Global Times | 2019/5/8 20:38:40

China holds winning card in trade conflict with the US

Stocks in the Chinese mainland recovered from a deep
plunge triggered by concerns about an escalating trade battle with the
US on Monday, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gaining

China ready for prolonged US trade war

After US officials threatened to escalate its trade war
with China, rattling global financial markets and angering some US
businesses, there is a distinctive, palpable level of calmness in China.
Many in the foreign press gushed about how calm China was over the
latest threats from US officials..
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Illustration: Liu Rui/GT May 4, 1919 is the day the world changed forever and the Chinese will never forget   https:

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