Data Sheet—How Trump’s China Trade War Is Morphing Into a Tech War

By Aaron Pressman, Clay Chandler

Good morning. Clay Chandler in Hong Kong, filling in for Adam.

Shares in Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, the world’s largest manufacturer of surveillance equipment, and rival Zhejiang Dahua Technology tanked on the Shenzhen exchange Wednesday following news that the Trump administration may forbid the companies from buying U.S. technology, adding them to a national security blacklist that currently targets only one Chinese tech firm, the telecom gear giant Huawei Technologies. The expanded ban could also impact several more as-yet-unnamed companies, Bloomberg reports.

Adding Hikvision and Zhejiang would up the ante in Trump’s trade war with China, confirming a fear expressed yesterday by Tencent founder Pony Ma that it is rapidly morphing into a tech war.

It also would invoke a new justification for banning Chinese tech firms. The White House blacklisted Huawei on national security grounds. Now Trump officials are seeking to punish Hikvision and Zhejiang for supplying equipment and technology used in the surveillance and mass detention of Uighurs, a Muslim minority.

China sees both rationales as contrivances to gain negotiating leverage–and in that sense they may be working. Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei scoffed at efforts to impede his company’s global rise, boasting that he foresaw a U.S. “attack” long ago and therefore Huawei has been developing its own chips and stockpiling parts from U.S. suppliers. But Huawei’s consumer electronics chief Richard Yu, in an interview with The Information‘s Juro Osawa, acknowledged the company was blindsided by Google’s decision to curtail Huawei’s access to Android software. Yu says he fears Huawei is in for “really a very rough time.”

Hikvision is one of China’s hottest tech firms. Its monitoring devices, which use artificial intelligence to identify and track people by recognizing their faces, gait, or even body language, are among the most sophisticated in the world. The company began as a government research institute and remains under the control of a state-owned entity with a 40% stake. But it has grown into a $39 billion business that supplies monitoring equipment for surveillance systems throughout China and the rest of the world. Customers include the Memphis police department, the Nuremberg railway station, and a Brazilian soccer stadium. Hikvision is a component of the MSCI Asia Pacific Index and a favorite China stock of overseas investors, including pension funds for teachers in New York and California.

While the executive order Trump signed May 15 has been widely interpreted as written for Huawei, it is worded so broadly that it could be applied to drones or virtually any Chinese-made electronic device associated with the Internet of Things, argues Steve Dickinson on the China Law Blog. “The final result is hard to predict,” he concludes. “What we can say, however, is [that]…relations between China and the United States are on a straight-line decline with no end in sight.”

Clay Chandler


Out of power. As Clay mentioned, the widening trade war is morphing into a tech war, too. Now some analysts fear that China could strike back in a way that would cripple a host of U.S. industries: by withholding supplies of rare earth elements used to make everything from wind turbines to electric car batteries to many consumer electronics.

Half measures. The much-hated “butterfly” keyboard on Apple laptops has been tweaked again. Apple says it is using “new materials” in the keyboard to improve reliability in just-announced updates to its MacBook Pro line up. The company also said it would repair problems with keyboards in the newest models and its last few generations of laptops for free.

That wasn’t very nice. While the White House is making life tough for Chinese tech companies, a U.S. court slammed Qualcomm for stifling competition in mobile chipsets. District Judge Lucy Koh on Tuesday ruled in favor of the Federal Trade Commission, writing that Qualcomm’s “licensing practices have strangled competition.” The sure-to-be-appealed ruling pushed the company’s shares down 11% in premarket trading on Wednesday.

The wrong lesson. Digital voice assistants from Apple and others that have default female voices reflect and reinforce harmful stereotypes based on gender, according to a new report from UNESCO’s EQUALS Skills Coalition. “Siri’s ‘female’ obsequiousness-and the servility expressed by so many other digital assistants projected as young women-provides a powerful illustration of gender biases coded into technology products, pervasive in the technology sector and apparent in digital skills education,” the report notes.

Seen and heard. Trust the cable company with your health? Comcast is working on a pilot program to monitor customers’ health status in their homes, CNBC reports. The planned device could be aimed at helping older people and people with disabilities.

What’s it like starting out these days? Check out McKenna Moore’s new Entry/Level series for Fortune, in which she interviews an Amazon user experience designer, an assistant merchant at J.Crew-owned Madewell, and an associate account strategist at Google–all just 23-years-old, yet all equipped with some sage advice.


In the realm of ‘things everyone knows are true’ is the obvious harm to children from social media. Of course. Slam dunk. Or, not so fast. A massive, new study conducted by Oxford psychologists Andrew Krzybylski and Amy Orben along with Tobias Dienlin from the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany, was carefully designed to separate the actual impact of using social media from the tendency for some already unhappy kids to use social media more. The research included input from more than 12,000 kids aged 10 to 15. Ultimately, the study found that kids who were more satisfied with their lives across a variety of measures (such as school, family, and appearance) were less likely to use social media. The effects the other way round-social media’s harm to satisfaction-were smaller and more tenuous:

The relations linking social media use and life satisfaction are, therefore, more nuanced than previously assumed: They are inconsistent, possibly contingent on gender, and vary substantively depending on how the data are analyzed. Most effects are tiny–arguably trivial; where best statistical practices are followed, they are not statistically significant in more than half of models. That understood, some effects are worthy of further exploration and replication: There might be small reciprocal within-person effects in females, with increases in life satisfaction predicting slightly lower social media use, and increases in social media use predicting tenuous decreases in life satisfaction.


Were you around 34 years ago for the carbonated beverage abomination known as New Coke? If you missed out on the sickly-sweet reformulation that flopped in the 80s, you’ll get a second chance to sip. Netflix’s Stranger Things series returns for a third season on July 4th and the spooky show will be set in 1985, complete with a New Coke plot line. As a genius bit of marketing, Coca Cola says it will sell a half million cans of the new old soda online. I think I’ll pass.

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Aaron Pressman. Find past issues, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters.

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Arduino SIM, the new cellular connectivity service for the Arduino IoT Cloud

By Arduino Team

Arduino SIM: 10MB Free Data for Up to 90 Days!

The new Arduino SIM offers the simplest path to cellular IoT device development in an environment familiar to millions. The cellular service, provided by Arm Pelion Connectivity Management, has a global roaming profile; meaning a single Arduino SIM can be used in over 100 countries worldwide with one simple data plan.

The Plan

  • Arduino SIM comes with 10 MB of data free for the first days 90 days,
  • One simple subscription at 5 MB for $1.50 USD per month*.
  • Global roaming profile – enjoy the same amount of data traffic for the same price wherever you are operating the device around the world.
  • Cellular connectivity to the Arduino IoT Cloud – monitor and control your devices anytime, anywhere.
  • Ideal for connected devices on the go or in areas without reliable WiFi.

*The monthly Arduino SIM plan is currently only available to U.S. residents

By partnering with Arm Pelion Connectivity Management, the cellular service has a solid foundation for users needing to scale form a single to large numbers of devices in the future.

At launch, the Arduino SIM will allow users to send data into the Arduino IoT Cloud, while later in the year they will also be able to use the Arduino SIM to connect to the Internet via a combination of webhooks and APIs.

Arduino SIM is initially rolling out with support for the Arduino MKR GSM 1400 (3G with 2G fallback) – a 32-bit Arduino board supporting TLS and X.509 certificate-based authentication through an on-board secure element and crypto-accelerator. Arduino IoT Cloud makes it possible for anyone to connect to these boards securely without any coding required, but they are still programmable using open-source libraries and the traditional Arduino IDE.

Now available to pre-order from the Arduino U.S. Store!

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Google Suspending Huawei’s Android License Could Be a ‘Death Blow.’ Should Other Tech Firms Be Scared?

By Alyssa Newcomb

In one swift move, Google delivered a “death blow” to Huawei on Sunday, suspending the Chinese company’s Android license and potentially stopping the growth of the world’s second largest smartphone maker in its tracks.

Google’s decision–the first time it’s taken such a measure with one of the world’s leading smartphone makers–halts Huawei from selling future releases that include the search giant’s services that many in the Western world have come to expect in their smartphones, such as Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Assistant. With Huawei no longer able to get many of the latest Android updates, the company will instead have to supply its own patches.

“This is a huge deal for Huawei as most of its growth is outside China, and lack of access to Google Store and services would cripple it,” says Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.

Huawei shipped 59.1 million units in the first quarter of 2019, making it the second best-selling smartphone maker in the world, just after Samsung, according to research firm IDC. Furthermore, the company’s blockbuster year included year-over-year growth of 50.3%.

An estimated 80% of the world’s smartphones run on Android. The platform is open source, meaning anyone can build on it. However, the particular flavors that Google builds–including the upcoming Android Q–aren’t as open, and are licensed to hardware makers.

While each new Android build packs new features and updates, they all come with Google’s suite of apps. Without a Google Android license, Huawei could take a stab at creating its own rival services.

“Developers are so heavily centered around Android,” says Geoff Blaber, vice president of research at CCS Insight. “Even if there was an alternative, they would still need those apps and services.”

The announcement comes after the Trump Administration added Huawei to a U.S. trade blacklist over security concerns last week. As the trade war between the U.S. and China has escalated, Google’s chess move shows how reliant so many companies have become on its open source Android operating system and its services.

A statement from Google said the company is “complying with the order” from the U.S. Department of Commerce and is “reviewing the implications.” In the meantime, the statement added, Google Play services and Google Play Protect security protections will continue to work on existing Huawei phones.

For Huawei users’ questions regarding our steps to comply w/ the recent US government actions: We assure you while we are complying with all US gov’t requirements, services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device.

— Android (@Android) May 20, 2019

Huawei has said in the past it has been working on a “Plan B.” It’s certainly capable. The company runs LiteOS, its own open source operating system for use on IoT devices, including smartwatches.

However, attempts to create an Android rival have come and gone over the past five to seven years, while the platform continued to gain market share. Microsoft’s Windows OS is a prime example of an attempt by a large, established tech company to create a new mobile OS that never took off, Blaber says.

“On paper, there was industry support for an alternative platform to Android,” he says. “The reality was, there are a number of factors–Android has a very big and vibrant ecosystem.”

In addition, when it comes to smartphone distribution, a lot of markets are heavily carrier controlled, according to Blaber. And while a lot of those carriers like the idea of a third operating to compete that requires heavy promotion and money. “That never really occurred,” he adds.

While the move shows the power plays Google is capable of making, Kathy Wang, senior director of security at GitLab, a software development site, says it should also serve as a warning.

“Any company willing to enable a nation state’s global surveillance efforts should have backup options if or when their intentions are known by their technology partners and the public,” she says.

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What’s new at Maker Faire Bay Area 2019

By Arduino Team

It wouldn’t be a Maker Faire Bay Area without some exciting announcements!

A New Nano Family

Designed with makers in mind, the new Nano represents a small, powerful and affordable solution for everyday projects. Retaining Arduino’s quality and reliability, they make it easier than ever to turn your project ideas into reality. They are compatible with classic Arduino boards, have low energy consumption, and are equipped with more powerful processors.

The family is comprised of four different boards:

Arduino Nano Every – perfect for everyday projects. (Pre-order here with headers or here without headers)

Arduino Nano 33 IoT – small, secure, and Internet-connected. (Pre-order here with headers or here without headers)

Arduino Nano 33 BLE – small, low-power, and Bluetooth-connected. (Pre-order here with headers or here without headers)

Arduino Nano BLE Sense – small, low-power, and Bluetooth-connected with a wide range of on-board sensors. (Pre-order here with headers or here without headers)

“The new Nanos are for those millions of makers who love using the Arduino IDE for its simplicity and open source aspect, but just want a great value, small and powerful board they can trust for their compact projects,” commented Massimo Banzi. “With prices from as low as $9.90 for the Nano Every, this family fills that gap in the Arduino range, providing makers with the Arduino quality they deserve for those everyday projects.”

Arduino SIM

Connect the Arduino IoT Cloud to the world around you! 10MB free data for up to 90 days (5MB per month for $1.50 USD thereafter).

Arduino SIM is the new cellular connectivity service for the Arduino IoT Cloud. The SIM aims to offer the simplest path to cellular IoT device development in an environment familiar to millions. The cellular service, provided by Arm Pelion Connectivity Management, has a global roaming profile meaning a single Arduino SIM can be used in over 100 countries worldwide with one simple data plan. Compatible with the MKR GSM 1400 board, it is ideal for connected devices on the go. Arduino SIM is currently only available in the US — more information can be found here.

If you’re coming along to the faire, remember to bring along your MKR GSM 1400 board and we’ll give you a free SIM to try out!

Arduino Certification Program: Arduino Fundamentals

The Arduino Certification Program (ACP) is an Arduino initiative to officially certify Arduino users at different levels and confirm their expertise in key areas. Arduino Fundamentals, representing the first level of the ACP, is now available in the U.S. — access to the exam can be purchased either in combination with the Arduino Starter Kit or as a standalone exam.

But Wait, There’s More!

If you’ll be in San Mateo, don’t miss Massimo Banzi’s ‘State of Arduino‘ talk on Saturday at 2pm PT on the Center Stage, where he will reveal more news and updates!

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Service Providers Can Take Control of IoT Security

By Mike O’Malley As 5G networks begin to roll out, it is worth looking at how service providers can deliver high-value, high-margin security services in a way that no one else in the IoT ecosystem can match.

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