Banning Huawei, Ingenious Trade War Move, but Lacks Surprise

This blogger has mentioned Sun Tze’s teaching “In any war, win with ingenious surprise move while conducting frontal engagement. (凡戰者,以正合,以奇勝。)”

US President Trump’s tariff hikes are frontal engagement in his trade war with China, but the large amount of tariff revenue from the hikes proves the tariff hikes are paid by US importers instead of Chinese exporters. The hikes cannot hurt China so that Trump takes the ingenious move to kill Huawei and threaten further killing of other major Chinese tech companies.

Ingenious though, the move lacks surprise. At the very beginning of Trump’s trade war late last year, the US threatened to kill ZTE but refrained. It only punished ZTE with heavy fines.

Xi stressed self-reliance at that time. Chinese firms are thus aware of the danger in relying on US supplies of technology and components. Since then they have work hard to free from their dependence on US supplies.

Huawei especially has long been aware of US attempt to ban it so that according to SCMP’s report “Huawei set to find out if consumers will still buy its phones without Google services under US trade ban” on May 21, Huawei has already developed substitutes for US supply of components and operation system so that Trump is unable to win with the ingenious move.

Now, some people believe banning supply of rare-earth metals for the US may be China’s ingenious move but Xi Jinping’s recent visit to major producer of the metals make such a move lack surprise. However, such visit may scare the enemy. I know that China can have quite a few ingenious surprise moves. Wiser than me, Chinese generals are able to design more such moves than me. Due to the surprise, China can win the war with those moves as US trade war commanders simply do not know what ingenious moves Chinese general may make.

I wonder whether they have learnt Sun Tzu’s teaching as most translators have translated the teaching wrong due to their failure to understand it.

If a translator had read Chinese history of war, they would not have committed such absurd mistake in translating the strategy.

Moreover, even if the translation is faithful and correct, can readers read with understanding without knowledge of Chinese history of war?

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at

5 Comments on “Banning Huawei, Ingenious Trade War Move, but Lacks Surprise”

  1. Steve says:

    Yes Huawei is in a world of its own at least for the next 12 months and more.


  2. Allen Lau says:

    Huawei has indicated it has the ability to survive the ban. It is not a surprise to them.

    Especially in 5G, it will continue to lead in innovation.

    The surprise will be HongMeng (the upcoming Android replacement). It is based on open source Android, but it’s kernel is designed from the core to address next generation applications like 5G, augmented reality and connected devices.

    Huawei is among the most innovative companies. Like it’s handsets, it will attract new customers with far sighted features.


  3. Steve says:

    President Xi recent visit to a major rare earth producer is to scare the monkeys across the Pacific ocean. In addition to rare earth, China is ranked world’s first in the output of over 200 kinds of industrial products, according to the ministry of industry and information technology.

    Without going into details, China is ranked 1st in crude steel, steel, pig iron and gold production for 12 consecutive years. In 2018, China’s industrial value exceeded 30 trillion yuan and rising.

    In the equipment industry, China’s industrial robot production of 118,452 sets is the world’s largest. Automobile production and sales reached over 27.809 million units and 28.081 million units respectively, ranking 1st in the world.

    China three major shipbuilding indicators have a global share of 40% + in terms of deadweight tons leading the world. In the consumer goods industry and electronic information technology, China produced 1.8 billion mobile phones, 300 million computers, 200 million colour TV sets, accounted for 90%, 90% and 70% of global production respectively – World’s First.

    In addition to textile production in clothing, shoes and toys, China is world’s largest producer. Toys alone made in China cover 70% of world market.

    According to Miao Wei, minister of industry and info technology, China’s global manufacturing powerhouse is the ONLY country with all the industrial categories in the UN industry classification. High quality development has long term significance for the Chinese economy.
    And, latest news of China’s 600 kilometer high speed Maglev test prototype is off the assembly line in Qingdao, marking a huge breakthrough in China’s high speed Maglev technology.

    The list is too long, I shall stop here. These are China’s economic weaponries, is it necessary to use rare earth.? Yes it is, but only when timing is propitious.


  4. I hope the author is right. But imo, there is gross incompetence when it comes to Chinese ministry of information or propaganda. I refer to the case where Fedex redirected several Huawei packages to US instead of The intended destinations. Now, if Fedex is a chinese company and Cisco packages using it had been redirected to China, we all know what all the western press and ministries would say, they would all have a field day claiming fedex is doing it due to Chinese government pressure and we are all losing in our security by using a chinese company etc ad nauseam. This would be followed by fines and sanctions nonstop. Now what did the Chinese ministry of propaganda do? Nothing, absolutely nothing, not a single word. This is stupid, pathetic, and downright incompetent at best. Look, this is at the very least a full scale information war, and imo China is losing bigtime on this score


  5. Simon says:

    Some western media says that America only import 10% of global supply of “rare earth” and banning it sales to America will not make much impact. That may be true since manufacturing of hi tech products at present are still mostly centered in China. However this will derail Trump’s ambition to bring manufacturing to America. I also think much of America’s import of the material goes to making weapons. I hope China will also restrict “rare earth” export and processing for other countries such as Vietnam who may want to capitalise on the trade war.