China, cyber-security, Digitimes, Following Up, hacking, Intel, multinational corporations, national security, Obama, Office of Personnel Management, South China Sea, technology transfer, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal
China keeps challenging American security interests, notably by staging damaging cyber attacks on key U.S. strategic and commercial targets, and by asserting territorial claims in Asian waters that could threaten global shipping and air traffic. And evidence keeps pouring in of U.S. technology companies showering China with valuable capital and defense-related know-how – and of a decided “What, me worry?” attitude taken by the Obama administration.
Last week, a post of mine summarized two recent New York Times articles reporting the beginnings of some concerns in the national security community about these dangerous corporate activities, along with a Wall Street Journal piece that summarized some especially troubling recent tie-ups involving entities part of or clearly controlled by the Chinese government.
This week, the Taiwanese publication Digitimes shed major new light on the American tech sector’s role in beefing up China’s capabilities in a piece focusing on Intel’s operations. According to Digitimes, by the end of this year, the world’s biggest semiconductor company will have committed nearly $1.80 billion to helping Chinese companies develop advanced new products and services. Just as alarming as the scale of this investment are some of the specific recipients.
Digitimes correspondents Monica Chen and Joseph Tsai report that the company now owns part of a Hong Kong company that makes unmanned aerial vehicles, and parts of firms in China proper involved in smart devices, robotics, cloud computing services, artificial intelligence, machine vision, three-dimensional modeling, virtual reality technologies, and advanced optics.
Every single one of these investments could easily find its way into Chinese weapons – which could easily wind up using them against the American military. But although tensions in the South China Sea may be rising, and the files of tens of millions of federal employees may have been hacked earlier this year, don’t tell any of Intel’s top executives or anyone making China policy for President Obama. For them, it’s clearly business as usual with Beijing.