This month’s US commerce department ban on US equipment and software companies supplying Huawei is a further blow to the global leader in 5G technology and second-biggest smartphone maker in the world. At the same time, however, it reinforces the notion that the anti-Huawei action is not about fear of China spying on US interests, but rather about fear of competition.

The new rule requires any foreign chipmakers producing chips from Huawei designs to get a licence to use US design tools or equipment in the process. In other words, even independent manufacturers must get permission to use US technology. Ironically, the biggest victim of this rule is likely to be one of the economic mainstays of pro-American Taiwan.

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