back to article Chinese tech giant ZTE is back in business – plus or minus $1.4bn and its entire board

The US government will let ZTE use American-made electronics again, as the result of a settlement following the Chinese smartphone-maker exporting technology to Iran and North Korea. The deal, announced on Thursday by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, will require ZTE to cough up a $1bn fine, and place another $400m in escrow …

  1. Youngone Silver badge

    The only question is whether this was the price of Ivanka's trademarks and the $500 million loan to an Indonesian Trump development."

    I don't have any questions about that. The answer is obvious isn't it?

    1. DougS Silver badge

      The problem is that when Mueller's report comes out and details this and a million other dirty deals he's done to trade presidential favors for his business interests all his supporters who believe the "witch hunt" nonsense will think they are made up charges and STILL support the crook!

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Well, people without brains today aren't going to be getting them in time for Mueller's report, now are they ?

    2. jgarbo

      It's a no brainer, Trump's forte. Ivanka's trademarks or US jobs? Come on...

  2. Notas Badoff

    Trumpium War

    Good grief. Do you know how this will be played to/by the Chinese internally? Read those second/third paragraphs again.

    Every PRC kid has drilled into them how the country was raped by the UK/ _only_ 180 years ago. That war (along with the Second Opium War, the Sino-Japanese War (first and second), the Western crushing response to the Boxer Rebellion (8 nations!) and all the other atrocities) is the primary justification for all the bad behaviour they are trying today. *Anything* can be rationalized as payback when you have been so humiliated. (they say, anyway)

    It would have been so much better to have simply closed down ZTE and taken the domestic damage, rather than in any way appear to replay the Rape of China by the West. This could not have been done in a worse way!

    Russia will always have its Tsars, China its Emperors, and America its yokels.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Trumpium War

      Russia will always have its Tsars,

      With a short exception during the early days of Peter the Great, it was never the Tsars which ruled Russia. It was Orlovs, Demidovs, Voroncovs and Sheremetevs. The oligarchs. You should see Sheremetev's summer "dacha" near Moscow and compare it to the palace of Pavel Ist from the same period. The emperor has always ruled within what they allowed. The ones which understood this well like Catherine the Great survived and enjoyed a long life. The ones that did not finished the way of Pavel the Ist.

      China its Emperors,

      Which never had any real power with the province governors yielding any of the real influence standing on top of a hierarchy under them where each and every mandarin had significant power in his domain. Just as the Communist party does today. It is a hand which fit perfectly in the 2000+ years old glove.

      and America its yokels.

      Spot on - have an upvote.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Trumpium War

        I'm absolutely not an expert on the matter but... the Jǐnyīwèi might choose to disagree with that.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: Trumpium War

          I'm absolutely not an expert on the matter but... the Jǐnyīwèi might choose to disagree with that.

          I will ask the Oprichniki on the subject. They should have an informed opinion.

          Jokes aside as the above mentioned experiment and its Chinese equivalent prove any attempts to centralize the power, by using an NKVD like apparatus have historically resulted in MORE power to the traditional structures (+/- some personnel rearrangements and a few missing heads) - the oligarchs in Russia and the mandarin hierarchy in China. So in the endgame it is still business as usual.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Due to recent events in the news..

    I no longer feel that inexpensive mobile devices are a threat to national security.

    It appears that Facebook ALLOWED the manufacturers access to users data and "friends" lists regardless of any "privacy" settings the user may have set.

    I now FULLY endorse trade with ANY and ALL nations and let's go after the REAL threat to EVERY nations democracy, privacy, security and well-being by shutting down Facebook and Co once and for all!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Their stuff was being sold on Amazon with a fake label "used almost new" to skirt the bans at some pretty good discounts (> 50%). I got an LTE modem for 33% of the price of the usual suspects (probably courtesy of no payments to IPR holders).

    Should have bought more... In fact - I just did - it is much better hardware than Хуй-Хуй and more importantly if you give it a USB reset it does a full and proper reset. Something which Хуй-Хуй fails on (and get stuck off-network until a full power cycle) and something which Хуй-Хуй is 100% BUG-for-BUG compatible with Option. Wonder why...

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    Don't forget

    In reality Trump's presidency is just 'The Art of the Deal Pt II'.

    1. Frenchie Lad

      Re: Don't forget

      Unconventional he might be, certainly unpredictable but it seems that the Donald method has better results than his predecessors' and even the famously negative press coverage that he gets can't escape the fact that he's getting more results than those dither's Obama & Clinton. At the moment he seems even capable of ignoring his own backers which the Bushes failed to do.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Don't forget

        Beware of the far reaching consequences of some "results"... that's not building a silly kitsch building somewhere.

        Remember when UK sent advanced jet engines blueprints to Stalin in a "good will" effort?

        1. Grikath Silver badge

          Re: Don't forget

          @frenchie lad: Hmyeah... He's using the usual US business strongarming tactics.

          Of course, one fairly predictable result of *those*, in the end, are massive layoffs for the hoi-polloi, while the ones responsible Golden-Parachute out.

          Given that during his Trump destroyed far more value than he's ever created and he's basically dancing on the ashes of what's left of his inheritance, I very much doubt any good will come of his attitude. Except for him, of course.

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Don't forget

            > I very much doubt any good will come of his attitude. Except for him, of course.

            I would like to think that Mussolini provided a prototype of what "good will come".

        2. enormous c word

          Re: Don't forget

          ...or when Britain shared its more advanced rocket and Jet engine technology with the USA, - our enemies may be our enemies, but our friends are also certainly also our competitors.

      2. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Don't forget

        >but it seems that the Donald method has better results than his predecessors'

        I wish. This is just provided an incentive for China to stop putting any US IP into their products. Obviously they can't do this overnight so they'll play along but ultimately we will be the losers.

        A lot of US trade policy is based on the myth that the world cannot operate without us. This may have been true as recently as a decade or less ago but its one of those situations where 'the world' agrees to this situation because its to everyone's mutual benefit. Once we start throwing our weight around, especially at the behest of politicians who are operating with mindsets that are 50 years out of date, we've provided plenty of incentive for people to ignore us.

        ...and to those who think that we're big enough that everyone has to play our game just ponder this. I was born in the l40s, back when the UK had an Empire, an industrial base and a huge navy and marine fleet. We were a force to be reckoned with. Contrast that with the UK of today, the land of Boris and May, of barely functioning military equipment, a weak manufacturing base (yes, you make stuff but its typically manufacturing plant for overseas companies)....the mighty fell because of the same kind of hubris that is undermining the US. We -- the US -- are bigger so it takes longer to fall, but fall we will unless we learn to work with others.

      3. GrumpyOldBloke

        Re: Don't forget

        > better results than his predecessors

        The Chinese will have considered the costs and the benefits and will already have the workarounds and the honeypots in place. The importance of replicating rather than buying US technology has just been reaffirmed and China now has a 'clean' company to facilitate its acquisition. Independent companies to trade with Iran and Nth Korea will already be set up. This is a $1.4B donation to give the US president face in return for ... ?

  6. x 7


    One day, China, the Arab block, Russia et al are going to turn this on its head.

    All they need to do it announce a new regime of sanctions against Israel, and then fine any US company that breaches them.

    Apple, Microsoft, most of the defence companies.......a $billion or two from each would soon make the trumptons sit up and think

    1. Degenerate Scumbag

      Re: reprisals......?

      I'm pretty sure the Iranian Leader just needs to make a video while standing in front of a cabinet full of blank CD-Rs.

      If I'm understanding things correctly, that somehow makes you the righteous one, and puts your declared enemy in the wrong, even when they haven't actually done anything and you've already launched multiple unprovoked airstrikes against them.

  7. low_resolution_foxxes

    Yeah, I'm the natural type to particularly dislike Trump, but I reached 'peak anti-trump hysteria' a long time ago. It's become a tired liberal/journalist cliche of reporters "reporting" on Twitter events.

    If he manages to fix the North Korean problem without a single weapon fired, I'll give that as a Trump victory, he has also been slightly lucky as well, as he primarily seems to be solving the issue because a) they genuinely think he has a screw loose, and b) when their nuclear test site collapsed underground they couldn't afford to dig another one.

    Obama was clearly a greater intellect and a massive social step forward in many ways, but as a peaceful negotiating diplomat Obama was never seen as an irrational dangerous psycho with access to a nuclear button and too much coffee. I know who I would pick a fight with.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: I know who I would pick a fight with

      I would be very wary of picking a fight with Obama - there is steel underneath that charming smile.

      As for Trump, well I prefer to keep well away from him at all times.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Trump. Obama had the option of becoming an irrational dangerous psycho whereas I can't see Trump becoming a peaceful negotiating diplomat. Trump is a known quantity.

    3. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Trumpian diplomacy

      "If he manages to fix the North Korean problem without a single weapon fired"

      He'll take credit for it, but I suspect it's more a case of right time right place.

      To be fair his grandstanding nature does make dealing with other highly privileged people living (and benefiting) living in la-la land possible. So credit where credit is due, giving NK a chance to back down without losing face is a great feat of diplomacy.

      But it's much more about timing. The NK nuclear program has achieved it's primary aim. They don't need any more testing, relative to the cost of creating a new lab, no-one is of any doubt that they have functional mid yield nukes. Exactly what delivery systems they have are debatable, but you can pretty much guarantee no-one is going to invade you. Well, unless losing a serious chunk of your fleet or elite infantry.

      There has also been a softening of the NK-SK relations, so there's a lot of will on both sides to come to a better solution. Hence why once the conference was on, whatever Trump said, it was going ahead. The US should be at the table (still at war with NK?) but if they didn't, then the two Koreas would have started settling things by themselves.

      It's also in China's interests to have more of an accord. Hence why it's in the US interest to be at the table.

      First good example of Trump shaking things up and getting them right.

  8. MonkeyCee Silver badge

    Trump doesn't get global trade

    Well, when given a particular example he does. But not the general concept.

    The ZTE deal is because high tech products, like microchips, are mainly made in the wealthiest countries. The most expensive parts of a computer or phone will most likely have been fabbed in the USA or Germany. The next few tiers will be split between those countries and other nations where the tech has been transferred (South Korea, Taiwan). So quite a lot of the manufacturing cost ends up back in the US and EU, even for goods manufactured in China. Thus harming Chinese tech manufacturers also harms US chip makers.

    If it's about jobs, then it's assembly line jobs in China vs high end manufacturing and design jobs in USA. Again, the US gets the better end of the bargain.

    Pretty much all globalised trade works like this. Each side benefits, each side collects taxes from some part of the process (usually on labour costs) and feeds it back in through assorted subsidies and public goods (transport infrastructure, laws, education, insurance). Because the system is organic, it adapts faster and better than any planner (or legislator) can create. So pulling it apart is quite complex.

    Trump has a very narrow focus on exactly what a good or bad trade deal is, without apparently being aware of the nuance. Vehicle tariffs are, to a certain degree, meaningless in terms of long term production. If there exists a large tariff, then the manufacturers will make the finished car in the target country. An unfinished car attracts a lower tariff than a road ready vehicle. Or large enough tax breaks are thrown at a company, they build a factory. Hence most "foreign" cars in the US are made in the US.

    The whole G7 thing was pretty weird too, Guess he doesn't like people giving him any sort of disapproval. Perhaps a small parade would have cheered him up :)

    1. Dexter

      Re: Trump doesn't get global trade

      The most expensive parts of a phone will have been fabbed in South Korea (if using a Samsung chipset) or Taiwan (if using Qualcomm or Apple).

      Not many wafer-scale fabs in Germany.

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