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Huawei and China’s role in 5G
The next generation of computer and phone networks, known as 5G, is expected to connect cities around the world and fuel a future run on robots, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and other technologies.
But it may also rely on an infrastructure vulnerable to hackers and spies, one that the U.S. wants to stop China from building.
The Trump administration has conducted a campaign to pressure allies such as Britain, Poland and Germany to banish Chinese companies, especially the telecommunications giant Huawei, from participating in the 5G buildup, according to the NYT:
The administration contends that the world is engaged in a new arms race — one that involves technology, rather than conventional weaponry, but poses just as much danger to America’s national security. In an age when the most powerful weapons, short of nuclear arms, are cyber-controlled, whichever country dominates 5G will gain an economic, intelligence and military edge for much of this century.
What’s next? President Trump is expected to issue an executive order prohibiting American companies from incorporating equipment originating from China in critical telecommunications networks, extending current rules that apply only to government entities. His administration, which has also waged a trade war with China, says that it is motivated by concern for national security, not just by competitive defensiveness. China’s economic czar, Liu He, will meet with the American trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, in Washington on Wednesday for two days of trade talks, which is likely to cover issues of cyberprotection and the proliferation of state-owned companies.
What do officials think? Beijing’s ambassador to the E.U. threatened “serious consequences” if Huawei and other Chinese companies were excluded from 5G projects. In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fired the country’s ambassador to China after he said that a senior Huawei executive had “strong arguments” to fight extradition to the U.S.
And businesses? Tech manufacturers are diversifying outside China as trade tensions fester and the country’s economy slows. Foxconn and Pegatron, two Taiwanese companies that assemble iPhones, are expanding production capacity in India and Vietnam. American industrial companies with exposure to China have said that their sales there are weakening. But Apple is unlikely to bring production closer to the U.S., where manufacturers struggle to “match China’s combination of scale, skills, infrastructure and cost,” according to the NYT.
Today’s DealBook Briefing was written by Andrew Ross Sorkin and Stephen Grocer in New York, and Tiffany Hsu and Gregory Schmidt in Paris.
Promotions at elite law firm stir diversity debate
The law firm Paul, Weiss is more diverse at its top ranks than most of its peers. But after the announcement of its new partner class, people across the industry began to comment that all of the faces were white, and that only one was a woman’s, the NYT’s Noam Scheiber and John Eligon write.
Paul, Weiss has said that it regretted the “gender and racial imbalance” of its 2019 class. But the episode underscores how big law firms are still falling short when it comes to elevating women and people of color.
Mr. Scheiber and Mr. Eligon interviewed more than 20 women and people of color who described obstacles to achieving diversity at Paul, Weiss. Many said that opportunities to be groomed for partner were harder to come by for women and minorities.
“I fear that African-American partners in big law are becoming an endangered species,” said Theodore Wells, a black partner at Paul, Weiss and one of the country’s most prominent litigators.
Howard Schultz lays groundwork for presidential bid
The former chief executive of Starbucks told Andrew yesterday that he was preparing to run for president in 2020 as an independent.
Denouncing the “broken political system,” Mr. Schultz said he had already begun the groundwork to get on the ballot in all 50 states.
Long-shot bid: Despite his considerable wealth, Mr. Schultz would face a difficult road. Few independent candidates have mounted significant challenges for the White House.
Political jabs: In an interview with “60 Minutes,” Mr. Schultz said Donald Trump was “not qualified to be the president” and that lawmakers from both parties were engaged in “revenge politics.”
Swift response: The announcement was condemned by top Democratic operatives, who said they were worried that Mr. Schultz would split votes in a general election.
As Lyft’s I.P.O. nears, pressure grows on its C.E.O.
Logan Green, the chief executive of Lyft, is known to be reserved, usually letting his second-in-command speak for their ride-sharing service. But now, he’s in a race with Uber to take the companies public, write the NYT’s Mike Isaac and Kate Conger.
That means Mr. Green may have to give up some up his reserve and step into a more public role.
The back story: Both Lyft and Uber have filed regulatory papers to list their shares on the stock market in the coming months. The offerings are likely to create a bonanza in Silicon Valley.
Why it matters: Lyft, which was last privately valued at $15.1 billion, is tiny compared with its rival and could be overshadowed if Uber debuts first. Uber could go public at a $120 billion valuation.
Markets await earnings, Fed guidance and the jobs report
Stocks sank at the end of last year on fears of an imminent recession, but those concerns have largely abated, with global markets now rallying at the fastest pace in months. But investors are still cautious ahead of a busy week.
The next few days bring an onslaught of quarterly earnings reports from the likes of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Tesla — many of which are considered to be representative of the broader economy. The Federal Reserve is also holding policy meetings this week, which come after central banks in Europe and Japan sounded cautious notes. And on Friday, the monthly U.S. jobs report will be released.
The world economy “is not in crisis,” writes Neil Irwin. But, he adds:
What the last few months have made clear is that the forces that have held back the global economy for the last 11 years are not temporary, and have not gone away. And that, in turn, makes the world uncommonly vulnerable to a bout of bad luck or bad policy.
The work force is still aging. Productivity growth remains weak, as is consumer demand. Low interest rates could constrain central bankers trying to engineer an escape from a downturn. And a “nasty feedback loop” could result in more political dysfunction, leading to risks of economic disruption like the type posed by the recent government shutdown.
Speaking of which: After a 35-day stalemate, the government is open again, much to the chagrin of some of President Trump’s conservative supporters. The 116th Congress will consider Democratic wage proposals in the house and a Middle East policy bill in the Senate. Lawmakers may also consider whether to ban future shutdowns entirely. Hundreds of thousands of federal employees heading back to work should receive back pay by the end of the week.
Yi Huiman, the chairman of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, will take over from Liu Shiyu as the party secretary and chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission. (Reuters)
Lance Milken, son of Michael Milken, has left the private equity group Apollo Global Managemen to set up a family office. (FT)
Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer outside China, said Jean-Pierre Thomas had resigned as its chairman and director as part of a deal with the U.S. government to lift sanctions on the company and on other Russian firms linked to the oligarch Oleg Deripaska. (Reuters)
The speed read
• The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, a federally chartered body, says a $1.7 billion funding gap should sink the efforts of the Sears chairman, Edward Lampert, to buy out the retail chain. The move makes the corporation the latest and most influential creditor to oppose the sale. (WSJ)
• The chemical companies Versum Materials and Entegris are in advanced talks to combine into a single entity that makes products used in the semiconductor manufacturing process. (WSJ)
• The engineering group Rolls-Royce is leading a consortium of companies that is said to have asked the British government for more than $260 million to build small nuclear reactors. (FT)
• Saudi Aramco wants to increase its foothold in Asia’s oil industry by buying up to 19.9 percent of the South Korean refiner Hyundai Oilbank. (Reuters)
• The Italian energy company Eni and its Austrian peer OMV will pay $5.8 billion for a stake in the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s refining business. (Reuters)
• Kik Interactive, a Canadian social-media start-up that sold $100 million in a digital token it called “kin,” plans to fight the S.E.C. over the agency’s regulation of cryptocurrencies. (WSJ)
• All aboard the driverless train: American rail-freight operators are turning to automation to make railroads safer and more productive. (WSJ)
• The struggles of bike-sharing start-ups lay bare the flaws of VC2C, or venture capital to consumer, a common tech investment strategy in China. In VC2C, companies raise funds, use them to subsidize consumers, and ramp up prices later. (FT)
• Retailers have used robots to handle inventory in warehouses. Now, they’re testing whether robots can figure out when store shelves need to be restocked. (WSJ)
Politics and policy
• A sweeping tax code overhaul and the lingering effects of a government shutdown could squeeze taxpayers’ refund checks, and delay them, too. (NYT)
• Senator Elizabeth Warren is trying to stand out in an increasingly crowded field of presidential candidates by focusing on policy minutiae. But she risks being seen as out-of-touch, too intellectual and offbeat. (NYT)
• With less than nine weeks to go until Brexit, British businesses are setting up emergency teams to cope with possible upheaval as they press politicians to agree on an orderly exit plan from the E.U. (Reuters)
Best of the rest
• Male managers said that they were nervous about mentoring female colleagues in the #MeToo era. (NYT)
• The Securities and Exchange Commission is scrutinizing whether Nissan accurately reported executive pay. (NYT)
• Signs that the government may move to privatize the mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have sent shares soaring. (WSJ)
• The Man Group hedge fund cut ties with the Booker Prize, saying it would dedicate donations to improving diversity in financial services instead. (FT)
• U.S. manufacturers are taking a hit as Chinese demand for American goods weakens. (WSJ)
• Workplace confidentiality rules in New Jersey are being challenged in court. (WSJ)
• Qantas Airways customers are requesting exercise bikes and virtual reality devices to pass the time on 20-hour flights from Sydney to London. (Reuters)
• Vale, the world’s largest iron ore miner, suspended dividends, buybacks and bonuses after a dam disaster in Brazil. (Reuters)
• The two chief executives of Standard Life Aberdeen, Britain’s largest listed fund manager, made a case for joint leadership, a model unpopular with many investors and governance specialists. (FT)
• The British supermarket chain Tesco is planning to cut thousands of jobs with the closing of meat, fish and delicatessen counters. (Guardian)
• The U.S. Treasury Department is set to borrow $1 trillion for a second year to finance the deficit. (Bloomberg)
• The English soccer club Arsenal announced plans to open several themed restaurants in China as part of a marketing push to reach fans there. (FT)
• The European Commission is preparing to put Saudi Arabia on a list of countries that have failed to fight money laundering and terrorist financing. (FT)
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