Beyond the usual goods, such as agricultural or industrial products, cutting-edge technologies such as microprocessors or artificial intelligence are the basis of a dispute that can shape the future development of these fields.
This week, the administration of Donald Trump ended up igniting the fuse of a commercial war with allied countries, and others with which it competes in various fields, by imposing tariffs on aluminum and steel.
Several of those affected began to respond with taxes to American products ranging from manufacturing to agricultural products, all from states where there is strong political support for Trump.
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Seen from a point, this is the usual way in which a commercial war is articulated. The novelty on this occasion is that, beyond steel and aluminum, Kentucky whiskey or Harley Davidson motorcycles, some of the most poignant demands in the confrontation have to do with technology.
It is not about punishing the importation of cell phones (although there is also some of that), but about protecting key sectors for the economic development and national security of the two great heads of the confrontation, the United States and China.
The war here takes the form of semiconductors, microprocessors, artificial intelligence, telecommunications equipment and software for the analysis of big data.
The vision of Trump and Chinese President, Xi Jinping, is simple: who dominates fields such as the design and construction of microprocessors and the development of artificial intelligence will be at the forefront of innovations in military material that may have applications in issues such as autonomous vehicles , collection of intelligence in real time and improvement of long-range ballistic missiles, just to mention a few issues.
Also, these technologies can boost lucrative companies, such as the manufacture of telecommunications equipment for the next 5G networks, cell phone design or data management for a multitude of industrial uses and city management (things like facial recognition in real time they go through here, for example).
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A significant portion of the demands that the Trump government has made to China is that this country cut the trade deficit by US $ 100 billion (an estimated total of US $ 375 billion in favor of the Chinese) and that, likewise, it closes the tap of the state financing to the policy known as Made in China 2025.
In the future, this is one of the most ambitious goals of the Chinese government, which seeks to give it leadership in areas such as semiconductors, robotics, the aerospace industry, electric vehicles and the development of artificial intelligence.
The plan is a strategic need for China to the extent that it seeks to insert itself into an economy that provides greater income by participating in the trade of advanced manufacturing goods. In other words, participating in the major leagues of foreign trade requires, in a certain way, to enter the world of high technology.
Now, it is not only a matter of increasing profits and escaping the middle segment of commerce, but also of guaranteeing self-sufficiency in areas that require high technological development. You have to think of the matter as a kind of gear: investing in technology helps boost an economy with higher returns, which in turn also drives local businesses and helps shield the entire system from the vagaries or whims of external suppliers.
The thing is best understood with an example, which for this scenario is the case of ZTE, one of the leading companies in China, whose current situation arouses serious doubts courtesy of Trump. Earlier this month, the US government prevented the Chinese company from receiving electronic components manufactured in the USA. UU., Which in practice stopped most of its production.
Although Trump’s position has become more flexible (as is often the case with the president: first the teeth, then some dialogue), the example sheds light on the concerns of the trade war on both sides: in addition to traditional goods, such as production agricultural and industrial, the new battle front is the latest technology.
The Chinese saw what happened with ZTE as a warning message to deepen the policies outlined by Made in China 2025, which in essence is a package to accelerate industrial growth, in the same way as other economies have done. The Trump administration ensures that subsidizing this development with state monies is not fair play, although this is a play that has been tried out in other countries.
In the background, the fear is losing market for US technology in the largest market on the planet, while it is facing competition from a broadly developing economy, which seeks to generate extra value in high technology.
For example, one of the goals of Chinese politics is to be able to supply 40% of the demand for processors for smartphones with local production, which would cut a vast field of action for firms such as Qualcomm. It is worth remembering that this company was protected by Trump from being acquired by Broadcom, a firm based in Singapore, but which is perceived as close to Beijing.
The Chinese also want that the locally manufactured robots are used by 70% of the heavy industry in China by 2025. The model is repeated in industries such as aeronautics, naval or agricultural.
The trade war between the United States and China has the potential to damage the economies of both countries (although there are analyzes that estimate that the damage, proportionally, would be greater for Trump), but also has to shape the future development in technology: Will Silicon Valley dominate or will places such as Beijing, Tianjin or Shenzhen gain prominence?
FASHION AND SOCIAL NETWORKS
Social networks and the presence of luxury and high-end brands on the Net continue to be the focus of case studies. The latest, developed by the online social intelligence consultancy Brandwatch, qualifies Calvin Klein, Dior and Louis Vuitton as the brands with the best online conversation with their followers. The other side of the coin is played by the American Donna Karan, who is the one who gets the worst relationship with her fans on social networks like Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
In the study five keys have been taken into account to know if the brands have connection with the people who follow them in social networks. Social visibility, general visibility, commitment to the Network, growth objectives and social commitment are the five aspects analyzed in the report.
Calvin Klein, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton were the brands with the best scores in the five areas of the study. The French Chanel, meanwhile, is the brand that has greater visibility in social networks, while Coach is the most appreciated by Internet users.
In the case of Calvin Klein, the brand has carried out in the last year a large number of campaigns on the Net, such as those carried out by the teen idol Justin Bieber or the promotion of the hashtag #mycalvins, which had more than 87,000 mentions in network.
Even so, experts say that the level of commitment of fashion firms on the Web leaves “much to be desired”. According to the study, fashion brands post twice a day on average, which is considered insufficient, and do not answer all the mentions received, something that in the case of luxury brands “is intolerable”.
In addition, according to experts, fashion brands are missing a key moment of conversation with their followers. “According to statistics, users are more active at night and on Sunday throughout the day, times when brands are very active on social networks.
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