back to article China and Russia aren't ready to go it alone on tech, but their threats are worryingly plausible

China and Russia are populous, wealthy nations that the technology industry has long-regarded as exceptional growth prospects. And then along came Edward Snowden, whose suggestions that American vendors were complicit in the United States' surveillance efforts gave governments everywhere a reason to re-think their relationship …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    China separately - yes, Russia separately - yes

    Together these two form a sufficient size market for things to get interesting. Now add Iran... Pakistan... India...

    Hmm... May you live in interesting times...

    1. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: China separately - yes, Russia separately - yes

      "Together these two form a sufficient size market for things to get interesting. Now add Iran... Pakistan... India..."

      And pretty soon you get the Eurasian continent, which contains 70% of the human species.

      1. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
        Holmes

        Re: China separately - yes, Russia separately - yes

        "And pretty soon you get the Eurasian continent, which contains 70% of the human species."

        Do you think England and Wales will join the Euro-Asian Union?

        P.S. China, Inidia, Pakistan and Bangla-Desh are populous, Russia is the biggest country, but the population density is low and the population is now smaller than 25 years ago.

  2. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Not a lot of will

    I'd have thought if China wanted totalitarian control of software on it's systems it'd have gone for North Korea style OS.

    There's been a number of attempts to mandate non-windows on goverment PCs there, which seem to have been given up on.

    With the Microsoft platform becoming less relevent (or at least omnipotent) there is a window of opportunity at the moment which may not last long.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Again...

    "Last month China also passed a security law requiring vendors to assist local authorities with investigations while further restricting internet freedoms."

    There they go again, China copying UK.STASI May's best efforts at population control.

    However, she's probably flattered that the world's most authoritarian regime thinks the UK has the best population monitoring and control ideas and they're welcome to drive her 'anti-democratic tanks' over their people.

  4. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Interesting times fo'sho.

    This calls for a healthy dose of Rincewind and the Luggage.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Vimes will collar May some sunny day.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Vimes will collar May some sunny day.

        Not bloody likely, UK establishment likes to leave revelations of bad behaviour on the part of prominent figures in or connected to the establishment until after they've snuffed it.

        We may (hah) have to be content with what was done to the real-world counterpart to Vimes notable ancestor.

  5. Archtech Silver badge

    Who they?

    "Scott Kennedy, director of the Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) told The Register China is consciously throwing its weight around".

    Hmmm, who are these people, what is the CSIS, and what motives might they have for saying that? Maybe they get their money from other people who have an interest in stopping China and Russia from becoming too independent.

    'The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is an American think tank based in Washington, D.C., in the United States... Since its founding, CSIS "has been dedicated to finding ways to sustain American prominence and prosperity as a force for good in the world," according to its website... For Fiscal Year 2013, CSIS had an operating revenue of US $32.3 million. The sources were: 32% corporate, 29% foundation, 19% government, 9% individuals, 5% endowment, 6% other. CSIS had operating expenses of US $32.2 million for 2013, 78% for programs, 16% for administration, and 6% for development.

    'In September 2014, the New York Times reported that the United Arab Emirates donated a sum greater than one million dollars to the organization; additionally the organization has received an undisclosed amount of funding from Japan through the Japanese government-funded Japan External Trade Organization...'

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_for_Strategic_and_International_Studies

  6. druck Silver badge
    Pirate

    Your balls

    Going in to a joint venture with China is a worse prospect than even a joint venture with Microsoft. With Microsoft you can expect to have your balls cut off and handed back to you, with China expect them to be cut off and then find cheap copies being sold everywhere before you can wince.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Your balls (as a service)

      With Microsoft you can expect to have your balls cut off and handed back to you,

      - Seems a pro Ms sentiment - these days, you'd have to have a subscription, and no guarantee of no service outages - wake some morning and find the message (could not connect to 'balls).

  7. DougS Silver badge

    Chinese manufacturing

    The reason it succeeded is because it could bring a lot of people in cheaply. The more successful China becomes, the less cheap those people become. So no matter what they do they will eventually lose a lot of the labor intensive manufacturing over time, as other countries become relatively cheaper, or it becomes relatively cheaper to consider another course - either bringing it home (politically important in countries that have seen their manufacturing shed jobs to China over the years, like the US and UK) or building stuff using robots, with much less human capital required.

    1. Alien8n Silver badge

      Re: Chinese manufacturing

      You would think so, but China has:

      a) made sure all the profits from business goes to a relatively small elite, while maintaining low wages for the workers at the bottom.

      and b) has a long history of currency manipulation, artificially keeping it's prices low.

      It's also b that means they're pretty much the sole exporter of rare earth metals in the world, despite plenty of rare earth resources being outside of China (that and the fact they have no problem with mining it in the most destructive ways)

    2. SFC

      Re: Chinese manufacturing

      Which is why they've been investing so heavily in Africa. When the cheap labor at home dries up, they'll build out new factories (they've already started) in Africa where they can continue to pay nearly nothing for labor.

  8. Gunboat Diplomat

    Sigh

    If I were allowed to run a country with no regard for human rights and the ability to imprison / execute people who didn't agree with me, I could also manage amazing growth and productivity. Literally starving to death is quite the workforce motivation.

    However, we don't allow that in the West and I don't think it is something to aspire to. The fact we praise and do business with countries that behave in such a way appalls me.

  9. Christian Berger Silver badge

    How many people do you need to build/design a computer?

    The Cray I was built by about a dozen or so. So was the 6502. Considering you could go quite far by building something like a C-64, but with more modern production techniques, there would be a very plausible and efficient solution.

    Just embrace simplicity and don't worry about efficiency at first. Efficiency is something that should only be considered early in the process if it gives you several magnitudes in speed. Split up your problems into domains, decide which domains need high security, run those on your own hardware. Find out the ones which do not and which require high speed (i.e. graphics output) and run those on isolated commodity hardware.

  10. W. Anderson

    Article false statement

    Simon Sharwood's statement that ..." Edward Snowden, whose SUGGESTIONS that American vendors were complicit in the United States' surveillance efforts..." is factually incorrect, and this reporting is no less egregious and faulty that the fake news that abounded in the recent US Presidential campaigns.

    Edward Snowden "released" actual US government documents to credible UK, US, French and other journals, which categorically showed the illegal snooping action of the US National Security Agency (NSA) in collaboration/cooperation with US technology companies, which is not Mt. Snowden's opinions.

    This put Mr. Sharwood's whole article in question, as it thus difficult to tell how much else of the article is Sharwood's unfounded "opinion or Suggestion", rather than fact.

  11. Suricou Raven

    Would you expect anything else?

    Technology manufacture and support is a national security resource. I would expect China and Russia to seek a domestic supply for the same reason that the US is trying to expand domestic oil production to reduce dependence upon Russia and OPEC: If you are dependent upon imports from countries that are potentially hostile in future, it severely limits your military options. It's also a security nightmare in espionage - they can't trust anything out of Windows Update in case the US government has asked Microsoft to sneak in a backdoor that is only deployed to a certain IP address.

    But this is a good thing. More countries competing to produce better hardware means ever-faster innovation, which accelerates us towards my future immortality as a brain in a tank in an Amazon datacenter.

    1. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: Would you expect anything else?

      But strike the word " military" in the first paragraph. Reliance on imports limits many other options as well.

  12. Milton Silver badge

    Different Rules

    By all means delude yourself that the experience of *your* company will be different and better than that of those who went to China before. Take your service offering/technology/USP and (be forced to) partner up with a Chinese company. Watch as your IP is exposed, copied, exploited and you are gradually "regulated", edged out and your profits mysteriously end up in the pockets of the few thousand people who are "in" with the regime. (That's making the generous assumption that Chinese state hackers had not already stolen everything from your servers before you even considered making an entry into that market, of course.) Once your IP and local operation has been sucked to the point of dessication, buy a ticket home. Rinse and repeat.

    China is not a democracy. It does not have checks and balances, not even the constantly eroded ones we have in the US and UK. Your contract is worth whatever the "communist" party wants it to be. No court in China will decide "for the foreigner" if the party instructs otherwise. It won't award fair damages or compensation for rampant theft of foreign assets, whether those are physical or intellectual.

    If you really think you can benefit equitably from business deals with a brutal, authoritarian regime which has shown no qualms about imprisoning and slaughtering its own citizens, conducts every form of cyber-warfare and -crime it thinks it can get away with, and is now showing signs of military expansionism ... well, as they say: Good Luck With That ....

  13. Sirius Lee

    I don't get the US paranoia about Russia. It is a nuclear country so from a military perspective it requires attention. But from a technology perspective? As a market it is smaller than Germany, France, UK or Italy and, thanks to sanctions, its struggling. Its GDP per capita is one third that of any western state. And why are tech companies not part of the embargo on Russia?

    China is a different case - at least to me, a European. The US hegemony on stuff technical is dangerous for the prosperity of Europe. Sure, we get to use it but it sucks cash and talent out of Europe. Meanwhile Europeans seem totally incapable of forging a common technical market to rival the US. So China offers Europeans the prospect of an alternative technical nexus. No matter how significant China becomes, like the US it is too far away to be a political or military threat to Europe. But the prospect of having a second vendor to the world (not just a manufacturing shop) would introduce real competition.

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