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Non-shocker as Russia sides with China in tech cold war

Russia could end up becoming Huawei’s biggest foreign market, after its foreign minister Sergei Lavrov called for closer cooperation on technology with China.

According to Russian state-controlled outlet Sputnik News, Lavrov said Russia will ignore the US, “who simply demand not to cooperate on 5G with China and, in particular, with Huawei”. We’re going to file this one under ‘least-shocking development of 2020′.

Lavrov said he wants to foster regional cooperation with China and its other allies in a bid to develop technology that does not rely on US suppliers.

Again that is no surprise, since it comes a week after the US Commerce Department imposed tough new sanctions blocking 38 Huawei affiliates from doing business with the Chinese kit maker. These latest sanctions are on top of those announced in May that sought to limit Huawei’s access to US-made chips. They spell trouble because although China has a track record of inventing its own telco tech (anyone remember TD-SCDMA?), a lot of the componentry is imported.

That first round of sanctions risked wiping $25 billion off Asia-Pacific tech firms’ revenue, according to S&P Global Ratings. The new restrictions will undoubtedly make matters even worse.

Indeed, doubts over Huawei’s supply chain was one of the official reasons the UK gave when it decided to ban telcos from using its 5G kit in their networks.

The latest tit-for-tat also follows Trump’s recent executive order giving TikTok parent ByteDance 90 days to divest its US operation. If ByteDance doesn’t comply, TikTok faces being banished from the US.

Lavrov’s remarks were reportedly made during a Q&A session at an event in Russia called Territory of Meanings, which is ironically quite an ambiguous name for an event.

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