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In this issue

While the US-China trade war has dominated headlines and centered economic debate on US President Donald Trump’s hardline trade policies, another dispute heralds a much longer-term sign of rivalry: the use of technology from Chinese telecom giant Huawei in the global rollout of 5G mobile networks. The US has banned its use and is pressing its allies and other countries not to expose themselves to what it sees as the cybersecurity risks of Chinese high-tech hardware and software. It has also taken a tougher stance on the export to China of US technologies vital to Beijing’s ambitions to dominate key emerging technologies by 2025. The battle over Huawei is, in short, the opening salvo in a struggle between Washington and Beijing over who will sit astride the technologies of the future... Asian countries are being drawn into that battle. Australia was the first to identify Huawei’s 5G security risks, but Asian nations are by no means eager to line up with Trump against it. The world’s largest telecom equipment provider is already deeply involved in the region’s economies providing 3G and 4G networks... Our cover package examines the issue at large and the stances being taken by Asian countries. As this issue was going to press, Ren Zhengfei, Huawei’s founder and chief executive, said in a rare interview with The Economist that the company was prepared to license its 5G technology to a Western company for a one-time fee — an extraordinary revelation. It remains to be seen in the months ahead how serious that offer is and whether it has any takers...

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