When President Trump first proposed the concept of a ‘Huawei killer,’ many were skeptical about how the US government would successfully challenge such a global tech powerhouse. Fast-forward to the Biden administration, we can see a clearer roadmap towards this ambition, through plans to bolster the US semiconductor industry to create a potent competitor in the global tech arena.
One of the cornerstones of Trump’s strategy was to align the US government with private tech companies that could rise as a formidable force against Huawei. Despite initial efforts, this strategy didn’t bear fruits. Under President Biden, this visionary idea is taking a more practical and feasible turn, with direct steps being taken to not just foster a ‘Huawei killer,’ but rather to stem a resilient domestic tech industry that can hold its own on the global stage.
For this transformation to unfold, the Biden administration is focusing on building up the domestic semiconductor industry, a sector critical to the operation of countless digital devices around the world. This effort is aimed at generating an advantageous economic and geopolitical staging ground for the US in this tech cold war. They are doing this by investing heavily in the American chip industry through the proposed $37 billion funds to increase chip manufacturing and research on US soil.
At the heart of this strategy is the need to stabilize US supply chains, reducing dependence on Asia so that it can compete against the likes of Huawei, which dominates global telecommunications and smartphone markets. Critical is to ensure the US is not left behind in the global tech race, particularly in key areas like 5G and Artificial Intelligence, where semiconductors play an essential role.
There’s now a special urgency following the global chip shortage, which highlighted the vulnerabilities of global supply chains, making it clear of the dire need for a robust domestic tech industry. Although the US has long played a crucial role in chip technology with companies like Intel, Qualcomm, and Nvidia, the manufacturing capacity was eroded over the past few years, creating an unhealthy dependency on overseas suppliers.
The Biden administration’s drive to enhance semiconductor production does not solely represent an economic initiative, but it also carries deep national security implications. Huawei has been tagged by US defense leaders as a potential security threat. By reinforcing domestic semiconductor capabilities, the US can help safeguard sensitive tech infrastructure and decrease the possibility of foreign espionage.
The proposed investment into the semiconductor industry is in line with the broader aim to take a dual approach. On the one hand, the US government is trying to limit China’s tech growth by implementing rigorous export controls on key technologies. Concurrently, they’re also making a substantial domestic investment to ensure its tech industry can out-innovate competitors, essentially employing a two-pronged strategy to suppress Huawei’s dominance and improve its own capacities.
In conclusion, while Trump may have dreamt up the idea of a ‘Huawei killer’, it is under Biden that this concept is starting to take practical shape. By supporting domestic semiconductor production and research, Biden’s administration is paving the way for a potential US resurgence in the global tech industry; one that doesn’t just aim to compete with Huawei but to usher a new era of American technological dominance.