U.S.-Chinese tensions have run high ever since Trump laid out plans to counter unfair trade practices from China in 2016.
These tensions have rippled across almost every industry, but almost none as prevalent as in the telecom industry. This is a war against Chinese company Huawei, the world’s largest provider of telecommunications equipment and a leader in next-generation 5G technology.
Now, this is not exactly a new conflict with Huawei, but this could be the biggest one yet as one of the largest telecom equipment upgrades in history is taking place right now with 5G. Taking a step back, issues with Huawei go all the way back to 2003, when Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) sued the company over theft of its technology. This was over several patents, which Cisco eventually won.
Here are just a few of the conflicts over the years:
2004: Huawei employee caught spying at a trade show.
2008: Leaked documents show Huawei secretly helped North Korea build its wireless network.
2009: Accused of corporate espionage after Huawei employee tries to extract data from an Indonesian mobile operator.
2012-2017: Huawei-installed technology at African Union headquarters was reportedly hacked for five years.
I think you get the picture. It’s no wonder the United States, and now the rest of the world, is looking to cut Huawei out of its telecom networks.
The United States officially banned Huawei when Trump signed an executive order in May 2019, and now this week, the United Kingdom has followed suit and banned Huawei from its 5G networks. On top of that, London is calling for the removal of all Huawei equipment by 2027. The United States and UK are not the only two countries that have banned Huawei either. Dozens of others have also done so, including Telecom Italia excluding Huawei from bidding on its 5G network project in Brazil.
But this isn’t just geopolitical hardball. It’s an opportunity for investors.
5G is one of the biggest tech investing opportunities you’ll ever see, and one of the leading companies is being barred from the biggest markets in the world.
Every time I walk out of my apartment and walk past the mountain of packages left for residents in my building, I’m reminded of Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN).
By now, everyone in the United States has heard of it. You see its packages and boxes in the recycling and delivery trucks with the large, unmistakable Amazon logo. It even has its own fleet of planes that you might see at the airport. Not just an e-commerce company, it also has a music service, the top video game streaming service, payments platform, an over-the-top entertainment platform, and one of the largest web services in the United States. This is how you create a trillion-dollar company.
According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, it has 112 million members in its Prime loyalty program as of December 2019. That is 34% of the U.S. population, and given that people sign up as families, eMarketer takes it one step further and suggests that 82% of households have a Prime account.