Bill Gates defends Huawei, says it’s ‘beyond realistic’ to stop China from advancing in tech


Microsoft founder Bill Gates has denounced the paranoia in the United States against China.

Not good to think that everything from China is bad

Speaking at The New York Times DealBook Conference on Wednesday, Nov. 6, the billionaire said Chinese tech giant Huawei, “like all goods and services, should be subject to an objective test”, Nikkei Asian Review reported.

Gates continued saying: “The rule that everything that comes from China is bad… that is one crazy approach to trying to take advantage of innovation.”

Also, citing Microsoft as an example, Gates said Huawei could provide governments with their source code and let them examine the system, thereby laying the officials’ doubts to rest.

In response to the moderator saying it is unlikely that the American President Donald Trump would consider the approach, Gates said “anyone with tech expertise” would think it is a plausible idea.

Trust goes both ways

In addition, Gates said trust goes both ways.

For instance, if Washington does not trust Chinese tech equipment, why would Beijing trust American products like a jet engine, which could be shut off remotely in theory, he said.

Keeping China out

The U.S. under the Trump administration has harboured concerns regarding Huawei’s close ties to the Chinese government, and fears that Huawei gadgets could be used to spy on the American government and companies.

Such fears were followed by the Chinese firm being blacklisted by the U.S. in May, restricting its business with American firms and therefore its purchases of American technologies.

In June, the U.S. also reduced the length of visas from five years to one for Chinese students in aviation, robotics, engineering and hi-tech manufacturing — areas that are deemed as sensitive.

Where does paranoia end?

But Gates clearly disagrees with the government’s approach towards China thus far.

“If you are so paranoid, what about the codes that are being written by somebody whose grandmother or great-grandmother was Chinese?” he said.

“Is there any piece of software in the world that you are willing to trust?”

Not possible to stop China from advancing

Furthermore, he said trying to stop China from developing innovative technologies is “beyond realistic”.

Instead, he said both the U.S. and China should take advantage of each other’s innovations and become better, rather than turn against each other.

But the hostility against Huawei is still going strong in American policy making circles.

Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, wrote on Oct. 28 that there are “mounting reasons to believe that the Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE pose an unacceptable risk to U.S. national security”.

He has also proposed plans to limit the presence of such gadgets within the country, Business Insider reported.

You can watch Bill Gates’ talk here:


Top image via CNBC Television Live video

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