While I have been researching Eastern European market socialism, with its breakthroughs and logjams, have not posted so much recently. But there are some interesting recent developments.
First, despite all the hype about Huawei in small corners of the world, business is booming with company sales improving more than 25 percent compared to last year. Its new phone, the Mate 30, simply challenges you to do without the nefarious dealings of Google. For some time now, I have not been using any of the Google items, so this is good news. Further, Germany has decided that Huawei poses no risks whatsover, and indeed that it helpfully prevents US spying, so the company that has most global patents in 5G will be integral to Germany’s development.
On a related note, despite all the uncertainties of the global situation and with a new wave of US-driven nationalistic protectionism, the Chinese economy is moving ahead solidly. Chinese experts have have been predicting a gradual slowing of growth for some time, as China makes a transition from high volume to high quality, and with a focus on ecological civilisation (shengtai wenming). Then again, 6 to 6.5 percent growth now in China is equivalent to 15 percent 10 years ago, and it is way above standard levels elsewhere.
For some time now, Huawei has been quietly confident that no-one else has the ability to install and deploy 5G technologies without involving Huawei itself.
Now the new figures are out from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). In 2018, Huawei’s had 5,405 PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) applications, which – as Francis Gurry, the director of WIPO observed – is “an all-time record by anyone.” By comparison, the runner-up was Mitsubishi, in Japan, with 2,812.
And the vast majority of Huawei’s patents relate to 5G, to which the company has been devoting world-leading investment in research and development, backed strongly by the Chinese government.
Let me add that Gurry also pointed out that “Asia is now the majority filer of international patent applications via WIPO, which is an important milestone for that economically dynamic region and underscores the historical geographical shift of innovative activity from West to East.” WIPO statistics showed that 50.5 percent of all Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications filed in 2018 came from Asia, with Europe and North America accounting for about a quarter each.
What does all this mean for the future of 5G technologies? As a recent article from the People’s Daily: points out, Huwaei has ‘absolute competitive advantage’ in 5G, with 1,529 standard essential patents. Behing them come Nokia, with 1,397, and Ericsson with 812. Already in Europe, the big 3 in 5G are working closely together. They have ignored the politically-motivated efforts of a small number of former colonisers and already signed up to work with Huawei.