Chinese varsities hold seven top spots in world ranking


Beijing: Universities from the Chinese mainland have secured seven of the top 10 positions in the Times Higher Education’s Emerging Economies University Rankings 2020 for the third straight year.

Tsinghua University maintained its position at the top in the listing of institutions from emerging economies.

Peking University was in second place for the second year running.

Zhejiang University and the University of Science and Technology of China remain in third and fourth place, while Shanghai Jiao Tong University climbed from eighth to sixth. Fudan University was listed in seventh place, while Nanjing University was ninth.

Other institutions in the top 10 include Moscow State University (fifth), National Taiwan University (eighth), and The University of Cape Town (10th).

Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer at Times Higher Education, said: “China’s success in our Emerging Economies University Rankings reflects its rapid rise on the world higher education stage. With the Double First Class Initiative driving improvements across participant universities, we expect it to continue to establish itself as a major global player in providing world-class higher education over the coming years.”

The Double First-Class Initiative refers to fostering “world-class universities” and “world-class discipline”. — China Daily/ANN

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Death of western democracies?


I told you so’: Trump showing off a copy of USA Today’s front page featuring his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial, as he arrived to address the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. — Reuters

ANGOLA, Haiti and Cambodia are “Banana Republics”: countries where the rule of law has been traduced by a man or woman or group seeking their own aggrandisement.

There is a new addition to this list: the United States of America. As one of the oldest and proudest of the world’s democracies, this country’s appalling downgrade is testament to one man’s work.

His name is Donald Trump and he is the 45th President. TV reality show star, charlatan and bigot, Trump has tweeted his nation’s principles – as articulated by the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights – into a pulp.

Of course, he had help. He has been ably assisted by a coterie of men and women known as “Republicans”. In the years to come, as historians pore over the catastrophe that is the Trump Presidency, tracking its dismal, neo-fascist trajectory, one of the most important dates will be his acquittal by the US Senate from impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress on Feb 5,2020.

The Americans have demonstrated that the highest office in their land and the most powerful in the world – the Presidency – can be manipulated for personal gain, that their political elite will actively enable this.

Across the Atlantic, a buffoonish Old-Etonian turned hack journalist turned politician Boris Johnson has parlayed Brexit to not only propel himself to 10 Downing Street but also persuade the UK’s working-classes to vote against their own interests.

Membership in the European Union was more than just about common markets and free movement. It was limiting, but that’s precisely the point: all its members accepted the EU’s strictures to create confidence and hence, the conditions for peace as well as development in their continent.

All of that has gone out of the window now.

If the Yanks who want to “Make America Great Again” are living in a Banana Republic – their British cousins who want to “regain control” via Brexit exist in a posh-boy rerun of Downtown Abbey crossed with 1917 and the Raj Quartet.

What happened? How have centuries-old democracies become so fragile and even self-destructive?

First: inequality has gotten out of hand. The neoliberal, trickle-down economic policies launched by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the late 1970/80’s fuelled a massive shift in prosperity from workers and the middle-classes to owners and shareholders. Real wages stagnated and tax policies benefited the recipients of dividends not generated by their own labour.

Subsequently, more centrist leaders (such as Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Barrack Obama) maintained much of the same policies. And the numbers don’t lie.

When Thatcher came to power in 1979, the UK manufacturing industry employed 6.8 million people – by 2016 this had fallen to 2.6 million.

In 2017, three of the US’ richest individuals collectively held more wealth than the bottom 50% of their country’s population –160 million people. Gini coefficients (a measure of inequality) are shooting up on both sides of the Atlantic.

Moreover, the advent of social media allowed fake and demagogic information to be spread quickly as well as unchecked, shifting the national discourse and mood almost at will.

Meanwhile, ethnic and religious minorities as well as women – rightfully – sought greater representation in the public life and culture of the West.

However, the failure of the Anglo-American elite to address the above-mentioned inequalities led the white-majority working classes to feel that their leaders were more interested in playing identity politics than protecting them.

At the same time, a refugee crisis emanating from the Middle East and North Africa (in the US, the refugee crisis is predominantly Latino) heightened white anxieties over being displaced in their own countries.

This gave the opportunity for Trump and other demagogues to rise. Economic inequities and cultural insecurities fuelled white nativist impulses.

It’s not clear if the progressives can blunt this wave (Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn failed dismally) and the chaos in Iowa Democratic Party caucuses only underlines the gloom.

We, in Southeast Asia must learn from the fragility of these Northern Atlantic democracies.

Their mistakes aside – democracy is still the best way forward – especially for multi-racial and multi-religious countries.

What’s key is to avoid the pitfalls the West fell for. We must address the growing inequality of our societies. Growth alone will not bring stability and peace.

A 2018 World Bank report found that Indonesia’s Gini Index worsened from 30.0 in the 1990s to 38.1 in 2017. Singapore (45.8 in 2016), Malaysia (45.5 in 2008) and the Philippines (44.4 in 2015) all had Gini Indexes above 40: signs of higher income inequality.

Leaders ignore warning signs like this at their peril. We must invest in our people: their safety, health, education and skills.

Next, social media must be brought to heel. Hate speech and deliberately provocative postings must be curbed without resorting to undue repression.

The obvious racial and religious fissures in our societies must be managed very carefully. Common ground needs to be found – or created – between our majority and minority communities.

And we must remain engaged: both informed about the issues and vigilant against cynical manipulators of our insecurities.

It may seem like a daunting task when our former colonial masters and role models have failed so miserably. There is no choice. We cannot join the Americans and the British in rubbish dump of history

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The cost and funding of the Hong Kong violence in CIA innumerable US regime-change, a price on freedom


Protesters in protective gear holding up a symbolic yellow umbrella and an American flag while marching through the Sha Tin District in Hong Kong earlier in the month. Sights such as these are fuelling  speculation about foreign involvement in the ongoing protests. — AP

https://youtu.be/huXI39jtq1sThousands rally to denounce violence and support Hong Kong police

https://youtu.be/tOw6kfhS1NsAnnie Wu: Young HK people need to learn to become Chinese

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and likewise, in the pursuit of democracy, there will always be casualties.

ONE of the most avid speculations about the Hong Kong protests is whether the CIA is involved, and this talk is fuelled, no less, by warnings from the Chinese to the US to keep out of Hong Kong’s affairs.

Last week, former HK chief executive Tung Chee-hwa was more ominous, openly accusing the US and Taiwan of orchestrating “well-organised” recent protests.

The first retaliatory strike from China on Taiwan was the ban on solo travellers, involving 47 mainland cities to Taiwan, which will cost the island state US$900mil (RM3.75bil) in tourism dollars by January.

Let’s look at these accusations rationally, though. It’s impossible for the CIA to hire such a massive crowd in Hong Kong.

The anger is real, though, and the spontaneity of the protests speaks for itself.

There has been growing frustration among the people, especially the younger generation, over what they see as the decline in living standards, and many now don’t see a future in the city.

The amendment to the Extradition Law has touched a nerve among HK citizens because many perceive they would not get justice or due legal rights under China’s mainland rule.

Let’s put it this way, the judicial independence in China isn’t ranked highly by international standards, and even Chinese nationals complain about it.

HK citizens are concerned that their city will be like any other mainland Chinese city, where the citizens’ freedom could be compromised, although one wonders how many of these protesters truly believe they would ever get extradited to China in the first place.

The Bill is, essentially, a manifestation of the frustrations that have built up, and its timing allowed for that volcanic eruption of anger.

It’s unlikely the young protesters were aware that HK has, in fact, extradition agreements with 20 countries, including Britain and the United States. From China’s point of view, why can’t there be one with the mainland?

Against this backdrop, with students on summer holidays, the perfect concoction was created, building up a massive protest for an international audience.

The timing couldn’t have been worse for HK chief executive Carrie Lam to push the Bill through – this is the season of protests, coinciding with the anniversaries of the Tiananmen Square incident and British handover of HK to China on July 1, 1997.

By now, it’s clear that Lam is a technocrat who isn’t politically savvy, and her lack of learned leadership during a crisis shows her shortcomings in being the best person to helm HK, even though China continues to back her.

The Bill has been suspended since June 15 until further notice, but not withdrawn. She has said the legislation process was a complete failure and that “the Bill is dead”, but she hasn’t enacted any legislative process to withdraw the proposal either.

So protests will likely continue, but nothing is free, and that includes the business of organising well-planned weekly protests.

Over the past month, the media has been reporting that groups involved in the protests have received significant funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), “a CIA soft-power cut-out that has played a critical role in innumerable US regime-change operations, ” according to writer Alexander Rubinstein.

The report claimed that the NED has four main branches, at least two of which are active in Hong Kong: the Solidarity Center (SC) and National Democratic Institute (NDI).

“The latter has been active in Hong Kong since 1997, and NED funding for Hong Kong-based groups has been consistent, ” Louisa Greve, vice president of programmes for Asia, Middle East and North Africa, was quoted.

While NED funding for groups in Hong Kong goes back to 1994, 1997 was when the British returned the territory to China, it was reported.

The report said in 2018, NED granted US$155, 000 (RM645, 885) to SC and US$200, 000 (RM833, 400) to NDI for work in Hong Kong, and US$90, 000 (RM375, 000) to Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor (HKHRM), which isn’t a branch of NED, but a partner in Hong Kong. Between 1995 and 2013, HKHRM received more than US$1.9mil (RM7.9mil) in funds from the NED.

This isn’t the first time the NED’s name has cropped up either.

During the 2014 Occupy protests, the spectre of NED in the protests and the foreign philosophies it represented also came up.

The NED was set up in 1983 to channel grants for “promoting democracy” and it’s said that it receives US$100mil (RM416mil) annually from the relevant agencies.

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai has also been accused of funding the protests. He has taken it a step further by meeting US Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington DC to discuss the Bill and the city’s situation.

Lai is the owner of Next Digital, which publishes both the pro-democracy Apple Daily and Next Magazine, among others.

Predictably, the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong issued a statement saying it has lodged a solemn representation at the US Consulate General in Hong Kong to ask the US to stop its “mistaken words and deeds”.

A spokesperson for the local Commissioner’s Office said that it strongly opposed foreign forces interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs.

“The US side clearly knows who Jimmy Lai is, what his stance is, and what his role is in Hong Kong society. Top US government officials have ulterior motives and sent a seriously wrong signal when they queued up to meet such a person at this sensitive time of Hong Kong – we express our strong discontent and opposition, ” it said.

In 2014, the South China Morning Post reported that Lai spent millions funding the Occupy Central protests.

The SCMP reported that Lai’s group offered extensive advice – including propaganda material – to the Occupy Central organisers, whom Lai dismissed in private as “idealist scholars” who “couldn’t make the cut without help”.

The emails were leaked by the same person who sent documents detailing the Next Media chairman’s political donations to various pan-democrats two weeks ago. It isn’t clear how the documents were obtained, though.

One of the exchanges between Lai and his top aide, Mark Simon, indicates that Lai spent some HK$3mil (RM1.6mil) to HK$3.5mil (RM1.8mil) to help the plebiscite. The email did not detail how the money was spent, only mentioning that the costs included “advertisements and billboards”.

In a rebuttal, Lai said that while he had donated large sums of money to politicians in the pro-democracy camp, he had not given a cent to the co-founders of Occupy Central. His newspaper, though, had given the movement discounts for advertisements.

China cannot be faulted for seeing shadows of foreign influence in the protests. It doesn’t help that protesters, pressing for independence, are waving colonial British and US flags, and what began as peaceful protests has now degenerated into riots, a term the demonstrators have also challenged and protested.

There is much irony in the HK protests. The late kung fu legend, Bruce Lee, has become an icon in the protests because of his philosophical advice to “be formless, shapeless, like water, ” in his role as Li Tsung, a martial-arts instructor in Longstreet, a US TV series.

Basically, the protesters should take on the HK police with a new tactic: formless, shapeless protests in scattered parts of the territory, aimed at wearing the authorities down.

But older folks like me would probably remember a better scene in the movie Fist Of Fury, where he kicked and smashed a sign at the gate of Huangpu Park which read, “No dogs and Chinese allowed”. The park in Shanghai was closed to the Chinese between 1890 and 1928.

It has been said, according to some reports, period photographs show a sign listing 10 regulations, the first of which was that “The Gardens are reserved for the Foreign Community”, with the fourth being “Dogs and bicycles are not admitted”. Any way you cut it; the Chinese weren’t allowed in the foreign settlement.

What has happened in HK is that the protests’ demands have grown exponentially, bordering on calls to be independent and free from China. Tragically, it has also become more violent by the day.

In calling for freedom of speech, citizens who disagreed with the protesters have found themselves beaten up, which seems to go against the grain.

When violence committed on the police and those who disagree are embraced or encouraged as part of a democratic process, and the destruction of public properties is accepted as a minor price for freedom, then something has gone badly wrong.

By Wong Chun Wai who began his career as a journalist in Penang, and has served The Star for over 35 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.

chunwai@thestar.com.my

http://www.wongchunwai.com/

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Huawei gaining support despite US ban


Charm offensive: To restore its international
reputation, Huawei’s top guns including the normally reclusive Ren began
to grant interviews to foreign media to address concerns and talk about
the group’s technology edge. — Huawei/AFP

CHINA’s Huawei, the world’s largest maker of telecom equipment and second largest manufacturer of smartphones, appears to have cleared some key hurdles with the might of its superfast 5G wireless technology amid relentless attacks by the United States.

The Trump administration has claimed that Huawei poses a potential national security threat. It is lobbying its allies to ban Huawei’s equipment, which Washington alleges could be used by the Chinese government for spying.

The US prosecutors have alleged that Huawei stole trade secrets and worked to skirt US sanctions on Iran. On Dec 1, with the help of Canada, it arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei and daughter of the company founder. She faces extradition to the US to be charged for various offences.

Washington has repeatedly cited a Chinese law passed in 2017 allowing state intelligence agency to compel individual organisations to “provide necessary support, assistance and cooperation” as proof Huawei can’t be trusted.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned allies against using Huawei technology, saying it would make it difficult for Washington to “partner alongside them”.

There is also constant reminder that Huawei’s 74-year-old founder Ren Zhengfei was a former engineer in China’s army and joined the Communist Party in 1978, before setting up Huawei in 1987.

In the past one year, the international environment looked hostile and global picture looked grim for Huawei, when New Zealand, Australia and Japan followed the US to block Huawei in 5G involvement in their countries, while European nations led by Britain and Germany placed Huawei under scrutiny.

It looked like this global leader in the fifth generation wireless techno­logy, which has operations in 170 countries, was to lose many potential customers in this non-stop anti-Huawei campaign.

The Chinese tech giant has vehemently denied all accusations by the US, saying these allegations are baseless and not proven. The Chinese government has also denied these claims.

Still popular: Attendees excited by the new Huawei Mate X foldable 5G smartphone revealed at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. — AP

Still popular: Attendees excited by the new Huawei Mate X foldable 5G smartphone revealed at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. — AP

Public relations offensive

When taking a soft approach in response to US assault did not help to restore its international reputation, Huawei decided to go on an aggressive PR offensive recently.

Huawei’s top guns began to grant interviews to foreign media to address concerns and talk about the group’s technology edge.

In a recent interview with BBC, the founder of Huawei declared in Mandarin: “There’s no way the US can crush us. The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced. Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit.”

Indeed, Huawei has already built up such a strong lead in 5G techno­logy that it is practically irreplaceable, say analysts.

Huawei claims that its 5G techno­logy is at least one year ahead of its rivals, and many in the tech world agree.

The most successful private company in China is an important part of Beijing’s efforts to advance superfast 5G wireless networks.

Although under Chinese law, firms had to “co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work”, the serious-looking Ren told BBC that allowing spying was a risk he wouldn’t take.

“The Chinese government has already clearly said that it won’t install any backdoors. And we won’t install backdoors either. We’re not going to risk the disgust of our country and of our customers all over the world … Our company will never undertake any spying activities. If we have any such actions, then I’ll shut the company down.”

He described the arrest of his daughter Meng Wanzhou as “politically motivated” amid the year-long US-China trade war.

The US is pressing criminal charges against Huawei and Meng, including money laundering, bank fraud and stealing trade secrets. Huawei has denied any wrongdoing.

Huawei has also used the four-day 2019 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona held last week as a platform to further its media blitz.

Huawei’s chairman Guo Ping expressed hope “independent sovereign states will make independent decisions based on their own understanding of the situation and will not just listen to someone else’s order.”

He added that Huawei must abide by Chinese law and laws of countries where it operates.

“Huawei will never, and dare not, and cannot violate any regulations,” he pledged.

Faced with so much scrutiny, it is no wonder that Huawei’s issue overshadowed the launch of new products and other tech giants at the global trade fair.

To the delight of Huawei, GSMA – a global lobby representing more than 750 network operators and the Mobile World Congress organiser – has appealed to European policymakers not to ban Huawei in Europe’s 5G networks.

It urged countries to take “a fact-based and risk-based approach” in a statement that the US wireless industry did not endorse.

No evidence of spying

Amid Huawei’s PR offensive, which includes aggressive advertising and sponsorship of events, some good news started trickling in for the Shenzhen-based company that hires 180,000 people worldwide.

On Feb 12, it was reported that cyber-security chiefs in the National Cyber Security Centre of Britain had concluded that “any risk posed by involving Huawei in UK telecoms projects can be managed”.

This report is seen as casting doubt on US claim of the security threat from Huawei.

On Feb 19, independent tech news portal The Register reported that Europeans could not find any evidence of Chinese spying.

“No concrete evidence has so far emerged that Huawei equipment contains a backdoor or any other means for China to snoop on,” said the portal’s writer Kieren McCarthy, based in Los Angeles.

And according to media reports, Germany’s Cabinet has rejected American efforts to impose a global ban on Huawei, after its own security services reported that it has failed to find any evidence of spying.

Both the UK and Germany are huge markets for Huawei. UK’s mobile firms – Vodafone, EE and Three – have been working with Huawei on developing their 5G networks.

Huawei is said to command about 40% share in Europe’s telecom network and equipment market. Hence, banning Huawei could be disruptive in this continent.

As a clear leader in 5G technology, ditching Huawei could also mean falling behind on crucial innovation for Europe.

Indeed, Deutsche Telecom is predicting a two-year delay if Huawei is banned from 5G involvement in Germany.

In India, media reports have suggested that Delhi might ignore US pressure after establishing closer ties with China.

Huawei was allowed to participate in 5G trials in India last December.

Ignoring the anti-Huawei campaign, Maxis announced last week it was collaborating with Huawei to accelerate 5G in Malaysia.

Maxis, in a statement, said it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Huawei at the 2019 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

It highlighted that Huawei has signed over 30 commercial contracts and shipped more than 40,000 5G base stations across Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

The MoU states that both parties will work to speed up the rollout of 5G technology in the country, working on full-fledged trials with end-to-end systems and services.

“Maxis has long started its 5G journey, and we are already focusing on live trials, investments and evolving our network infrastructure to be ready for a future where smart solutions will be part of everyday life,” said Maxis CEO-designate Gokhan Ogut.

Perhaps, the last thing Huawei expected was a tweet by US President Donald Trump on Feb 21 amid the US-China trade talks: “I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the US as soon as possible. It is far more powerful, faster and smarter than the current standard. American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind.

“I want the US to win through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies. We must always be the leader in everything we do, especially when it comes to the very exciting world of technology!”

Does this mean Huawei would be allowed enter the US market? But can Trump’s tweet be taken seriously by Huawei and Beijing?


China’s dream can’t be crushed

In fact, the onslaught against Huawei is creating big problems for mobile operators as they start building the next generation of wireless networks this year.

This will not only hurt Huawei but also its suppliers in the US and other players in the world, if the US has its way.

As expected, the anti-Huawei campaign has fanned up patriotism among Chinese consumers and the first casualty is Apple.

Demand for Huawei’s devices surged amid local campaigns to ditch US phones. Huawei sold 30 million phones in China in the last three months of 2018, nearly three times as many as Apple, whose sales plunged 20%.

The US-Huawei showdown is also hurting trade and diplomatic relations between China and the close allies of US.

Exports of Canada, Australia and New Zealand to China are seeing negative impact from retaliations from Beijing and tourism linked to Chinese has also taken a hit.

But Huawei’s success in 5G technology is more than geopolitics and competitive price. It represents the rapid rise of China as a tech power, which the US could not stomach.

There is fear by the US that China will control the technologies of the future. Already, China is advanced in AI (artificial intelligence) and has just become the world’s largest solar power producer.

China is the world’s second largest economy. Many analysts believe it will overtake the US to become the biggest economy by 2030, with the momentum created by its 2025 Made-in-China vision and other economic plans.

Huawei last year overtook Apple as the second biggest supplier of smartphones. The company is expected to overtake Samsung by 2020.

In Barcelona, Huawei announced that it expected to ship between 250 million and 260 million smartphones in 2019, up 20%-30% from 2018.

Judging from recent developments, the anti-Huawei campaign may put a brake to the rapid growth of this tech company, but it certainty will not crush Huawei and China’s ambition to lead in technology globally.

By Ho Wah Foon The Star

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Employees believe Huawei will survive widespread bans in West with ‘Wolf spirit’ culture


A true multinationalNewspaper headline:

A Huawei Technologies Co logo sits on display inside an electronic goods store in Berlin on December 17. Photo: VCG

Former Huawei employee in US laments government’s ‘endless assaults on the company’


○ Huawei’s so-called ‘wolf culture’ helped it become successful in foreign countries

○ The top global telecom equipment provider has been going through a tough year in 2018

○ Chinese and foreign employees hold different views on Huawei’s rapid expansion and aggressive corporate strategy

When Jason Li was assigned to the Mobile World Congress at the beginning of 2011, shortly after he joined China’s Huawei Technologies, he impressed Ren Zhengfei, the former military officer who founded the company in 1987, with a presentation about the company’s products in English.

“He [Ren] came to the company’s stand the day before the congress kicked off and asked me where I studied before joining the company. I said New Zealand,” Li said, noting that Ren immediately suggested that this newly recruited employee should fly to the UK office and help build a local talent center as part of Huawei’s global expansion.

The Shenzhen-based company has experienced a rapid expansion over the past 30 years, and has footprints in more than 170 countries and regions. However, it has been under the spotlight recently as Meng Wanzhou – its chief financial officer – was arrested by the Canadian authorities in Vancouver on December 1 at the request of the US on suspicion of violating US trade sanctions.

Under pressure from the US, more governments in the West have been considering blocking Huawei’s core products over security concerns, which is considered as a major setback in its development into a multinational giant.

Former employees of Huawei like Li spent years working overseas, and describe Huawei’s corporate culture as a “wolf culture” that helped it become successful.

However, this “wolf culture” also sparked controversy, and might have harmed its current operations.

Arduous journey

When Li started working at Huawei’s London office, he started everything from zero. From 2012 to 2014, he had traveled to over 20 countries and spent most of his days in countless hotels and airports, sacrificing much of his spare time to reach out to more foreign telecom carriers and companies.

“As soon as I left Egypt after a business trip to Cairo years ago, the country plunged into civil conflict, and some of my former coworkers were stuck in the hotel. And one time in Nigeria, we were exposed to yellow fever,” he told the Global Times, referring to those days at Huawei as an unforgettable memory.

Long working hours on challenging projects with constant business trips to remote areas are common descriptions of the workplace culture at the world’s largest telecoms equipment maker.

“Employees at Chinese telecom companies such as Huawei and ZTE endured hardships in an earlier stage of global expansion,” Xiang Ligang, a veteran industry analyst close to Huawei, told the Global Times in a recent interview.

Ren, the founder of Huawei, is considered one of the most successful Chinese executives during the country’s reform and opening-up. He was influenced by the military theories of Mao Zedong, according to a book on Huawei’s development published in April.

Like Mao’s military theories, which advocated taking small and medium cities and extensive rural areas first as part of a revolution, Ren started from remote and less developed areas to avoid fierce competition with foreign rivals.

“In some countries in Africa and South America, telecom operators could not afford expensive products. They also lacked staff members for maintenance and operations. This gave more room for companies like Huawei and ZTE, which continuously assigned staff to those areas, to grow,” Xiang said.

Huawei beat Ericsson and Nokia in the global mobile infrastructure market in 2017, as the Chinese company took 28 percent of the market share and became the largest mobile infrastructure provider worldwide, according to the latest industry report from IHS.

“In the early days, Huawei assigned most of its senior executives to the overseas market to explore business opportunities,” Xiang said, noting that accepting these assignments later became an unwritten rule.


Lingering conflicts

Huawei’s corporate culture has a long-lasting influence on its staff. An former employee who worked as a programmer at Huawei’s then headquarters in Nanshan district, Shenzhen in the early 2000s said that he worked for Huawei for about one year and a half shortly after he graduated from college but the short experience there has instilled a lasting impact on his future career. He learned to be hardworking, persistent and low-key.

Even after he left Huawei, he sometimes, as if he had been brainwashed, still would read aloud the internal letters written by Ren Zhengfei circulated online to his then-girlfriend-now-wife, partly as a way to woo and impress her, and partly as a way to draw inspiration and strength for himself.

The employee in his early 40s who only spoke on condition of anonymity said he worked long hours from about 10 am to 10 pm every working day at Huawei. When he was tired, he would sleep on the mattress under his desk. “All co-workers did the same, especially the managers,” he said. “When a new project kicked in, we would work overnight.”

This so-called wolf spirit – a high-pressure workplace – is also known as a “mattress culture,” as many of its engineers work so hard that they use blankets and mattresses to sleep at the office. And this military-style management was sometimes rejected by its foreign staff overseas, which led to deeper culture clashes.

“As far as I know about this so-called military style management, it’s implementing the corporate policy in the most efficient way,” Li said.

For example, when he worked at the company’s London office, all the staff there were required to punch in and out every day, following strict discipline.

“Sometimes, foreign employees preferred more flexible working hours, especially when it was bad weather. But the headquarters rejected this request,” he said, noting that localizing its business in foreign markets was a bumpy road over some similar daily issues.

For some foreign employees, being part of a growing Chinese company is still remarkable experience.

“I have great respect for what the company has achieved… Huawei’s growth and expansion have been amazingly impressive. It was exciting to be a part of that,” William Plummer, the company’s former US vice president of external affairs, told the Global Times.

Plummer, who is considered an eight-year veteran bridging the Chinese company with the US government, was reportedly laid off by Huawei in April amid rising tension between China and the US.

He noted that the experience with Huawei was sometimes frustrating both “due to the US government’s endless assaults on the company, and the company’s inability to trust and listen to non-Chinese experts in dealing with such matters.”

The company has been going through a tough year in 2018. In January, major US carrier AT&T suspended potential cooperation with Huawei in its mobile business over security concerns.

And the “Five Eyes” nations (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK, US) decided to take aim at all Chinese telecoms equipment companies. Australia slashed its use of Chinese-made products in August, followed by New Zealand and the UK.

In particular, the US government targeted Huawei for years, as American counterintelligence agents and prosecutors began exploring possible cases against its leadership back in 2010, according to the New York Times.


Focus on own work

After Meng’s arrest, several of Huawei’s Chinese employees shared posts on their social media accounts to support each other, claiming that the company can definitely get through this difficult time.

“It will survive widespread bans in Western countries … and we should focus on our own work,” a current employee at the company told the Global Times.

Some observers suggested that Huawei’s foreign and Chinese staff, who often hold different attitudes in the workplace, may see its struggles in a different light.

Many Chinese staff work very hard overseas because of Huawei’s incentive stock options. “Three years after I joined Huawei, I earned about 300,000 yuan ($43,500) a year, and my bonus was almost the same as my basic salary,” said a former Chinese employee “Eric,” who worked at Huawei from 2009 to 2013 and spent a year in Mumbai, India.

Working long hours is driven by growing business. Many employees understand that the better financial performance Huawei has, the more profits its employees could share in accordance to employee stock ownership plans.

However, to become a true global tech firm, Huawei will need to diversify its leadership, Plummer suggested.

As the case of Meng has entered the judicial system, some believe that Huawei’s situation will get worse, even though there is no proof for the US allegations.

Looking into this dilemma, the company’s aggressive and customer-centered business strategies might have helped its take over as much market share as possible.

“But in the long run, as a private company that insists on not going public, its opaque financial status also raises questions over its sustainability,” Eric said.

By Chen Qingqing Source:Global Times

Newspaper headline: A true multinational

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Britain steps backward as EU faces decline: chaos but no negative impact, a windfall for children studying in UK


Britain steps backward as EU faces decline

The UK voted to leave the EU, with the Leave supporters beating Remain by 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent. The slight victory is likely to have opened a Pandora’s box in Europe, pushing the continent into chaos.

A lose-lose situation is already emerging. The British pound fell 10 percent at one stage on Friday. The euro fell 3 percent.

David Cameron announced he would quit as British prime minister. Scotland may start a new independence referendum.

There are also calls in the Netherlands and France for a similar exit referendum.

The UK is just over 300 years old. In its heyday it was known as an empire on which the sun never set, with colonies all over the world (Britain was the former imperial power – whose military forces repeatedly invaded China in the 19th century – and the rising Asian giant, now the world’s second-largest economy)

Now it is stepping back to where it was.

Britons are already showing a losing mind-set. They may become citizens of a nation that prefers to shut itself from the outside world.

The Leave advocates had been calculating whether their pensions were guaranteed or migrants were encroaching on their neighborhood. Bigger topics such as the country’s aspirations or its global strategy were overlooked.

Britain has been a special member of the EU. It has not joined the eurozone, nor adopted the Schengen agreement. France and Germany have been resentful of Britain’s half-hearted presence in the EU. In a sense, Britain’s exit may be a relief for both sides.

However, such relief is in effect a major setback for European integration. Such setbacks don’t happen in good times. Britain’s exit reflects the general decline of Europe.

The world’s center used to lie on the two sides of the Atlantic. Now the focus has shifted to the Pacific. East Asia has witnessed decades of high-speed growth and prosperity. Europe stays where it was, becoming the world’s center of museums and tourist destinations. Unfortunately, Europe is also close to the chaotic Middle East. Waves of refugees flood into Europe, coinciding with increasing terrorist attacks.

Europe is not able to resolve the problems it is facing. The public are confused and disappointed and extremism is steading.

The Leave grouping beat out the Remain supporters by only 4 percentage points, which could have resulted from some temporary reasons. Is it really fair to decide Britain’s future this way?

Such changes will benefit the US, which will lose a strong rival in terms of the dominance of its currency. Politically it will be easier for the US to influence Europe.

There is no direct political impact on Russia and China. For the Chinese people, who are at a critical time to learn about globalization and democracy, they will continue to watch the consequence of Britain’s embracing of a “democratic” referendum. – Global Times.

No negative impact from UK vote for Malaysia

 

Britain is still a hugely important economy in Europe, says Liew

KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysian property firms with developments in the United Kingdom say that their ventures will not be negatively impacted as a result of the June 23 referendum whereby British citizens voted to exit the European Union.

Eco World International Bhd executive vice-chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said that while the decisive win by the Brexit camp was unexpected, the group is optimistic that the results hold a silver lining going forward.

“Now that the results of the EU referendum are known, the long uncertainty which has caused many investors to hold back on decision making is finally over. Britain is still a hugely important economy in Europe with highly principled, professional and competent leaders,” he said in a statement.

Liew added that he has every confidence that the British government will do their utmost to take proactive measures to assuage post-Brexit concerns and move the UK forward on every front.

London’s position as a prime destination for global real estate investment is unlikely to change given that many of the fundamental drivers of demand are still intact. Chief among them are transparency of laws, sesurity and ease of ownership, and shortage of supply, among others, Liew noted.

EWI, which is en route to listing on Bursa Malaysia, has three projects in London, namely the London City Island Phase 2 in East London, Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms, and Wardian London facing the Canary Wharf. All three were launched last year.

“For EWI specifically, it should be noted that through our proposed initial public offering we will be raising equity in ringgit. Now that the sterling has dropped it means that the cost we have to inject into the UK to pay for the developments there will be lower,” he points out.

Meanwhile, in a statement reacting to the results of the UK referendum, Sime Darby Bhd, which is undertaking the Battersea Power Station project has reiterated its long term commitment to the venture.

“The results of the referendum is not expected to impact the viability of the project.

“We are confident the iconic development will continue to generate interest in the longer term and that London will continue to remain a key investment destination and financial centre,” it said.

Sime Darby has a 40% stake in Battersea. The other joint venture partners are SP Setia Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund with 40% and 20% respectively.

A research note by MIDF Research said global capital markets may take some time to adjust to the Brexit vote which could have adverse repercussions on businesses.

Its group managing director Datuk Mohd Najib Abdullah said that as a result of Brexit, the world is moving into a period of elevated uncertainty, with risk appetite plunging in a flight to safety and security.

As the UK is an important market for Malaysian exporters and an important source of foreign direct investments, any economic malaise from Europe will inevitably affect Malaysia in the longer term, Aboth directly and indirectly, MIDF said. – By afiq Isa The Star

Windfall for Malaysian parents of children studying in Britain 

Parents with children studying in Britain are heaving a sigh of relief because the pound has weakened following Brexit.

The ringgit closed at RM5.66 to the pound yesterday, a drop of 4.67% compared to a month ago when it was RM6.03.

Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahman said tuition fees would be more affordable.

“For parents who couldn’t afford it initially, they may change their minds now,” she said when contacted.

She added that one should look at the positive instead of focusing on the negative implications.

A parent, who asked to be identified only as Auntie Chris, has a son studying biotechnology at Imperial College London, and said: “We are liquidating our accounts to take advantage of the drop in the pound, which is great news.”

She said her son, who is in his second year, planned to pursue his master’s in Britain after graduation but had put his plan on hold due to the strong pound.

“We asked him to work first, after graduating, due to the financial constraints but with the pound dropping significantly, going for his master’s may be back on the table,” she said.

Another parent, Azura Abdullah, said she did not expect her son’s tuition fees to increase any time soon.

Her son is a second-year law student at University of Exeter.

Some parents were fearful of Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Despite the weakened pound, Azura felt the price of goods may increase in the short term because Britain could no longer leverage on EU trade deals, which could increase the cost of living there for her son.

“But we hope to offset this with the lower currency rate as the pound will devalue in the short to middle term,” Azura added.

Auntie Chris said she was worried that Britain’s decision may affect job prospects for Malaysians over there.

“If Britain goes into recession, it will affect job prospects for new graduates,” she said, adding that immigration controls may also be tightened following Brexit.

Chief executive officer and provost of the University of Nottingham Malaysia campus Prof Christine Ennew said parents should expect cheaper education.

“Students should be able to do more with their money in the UK, at least in the short term, say over the next couple of years,” she said.

Prof Ennew admitted that there could be some concerns over the issuing of student visas.

“However, Boris Johnson, one of the leading figures in the Brexit camp, has always been very supportive of international students and this should give some reassurance that the visa regime will not necessarily become harder for students from outside the EU,” she said.

She added that it was likely that EU students would be more affected than those from outside the union. – The Star

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