back to article Xiaomi hit by US sanctions: Can't list on stock exchanges and investors can't invest

With five days left before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, the Trump administration has delivered a parting blow to China's tech industry by designating Xiaomi as a "Communist Chinese military company" and placing it on a financial ban list. Xiaomi now finds itself in the same boat as China's three largest …

  1. Muppet Boss

    Could it be that the companies that bid on the JEDI contract would receive a tit-for-tat designation from China? Would be interesting to watch.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Not just China, if you are a UN / WHO agency and you are using a cloud provider that is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the DoD - some countries are likely to be objecting rather strongly

  2. doublelayer Silver badge

    Doesn't really make sense

    The targeting of Xiaomi doesn't make as much sense as other companies do. I don't agree with the banning of Huawei because each time public information gets released, it paints Huawei as a place which writes crappy code but not a place which backdoors the equipment it sells. Still, I can conceive of a justification for its ban. The hardware it makes does go into the backbone of a critical resource, and if someone could disrupt, intercept, or disable that resource, there would be big problems. If someone knows that Huawei has capacity to do those things but doesn't want to tell us, it could make sense that you'd have to ban it. I'd like to see the evidence, though.

    Xiaomi doesn't have that justification. They don't make infrastructure; they make consumer electronics. Sure, their electronics might come with malware on them, but so could any other company's. If there is a risk of malware-laden Chinese electronics coming into a country, that country would likely have to ban all the companies' imports, not their shares. There appears to be little or no justified security concern, which makes previous bans dubious as well. If it's a trade war they want, they should just do it the normal way, with broad tariffs. Doing a trade war by picking victims and turning the cannons on them alone is not only strange and erodes trust, but it probably isn't going to do all that much about the problems people have with the trade relationship either.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Doesn't really make sense

      Xiaomi passed Apple in sales

      Apple makes Apple Pie

      Apple Pie is the symbol of Republican America

      I'm very smart, possibly the smartest, lots of people are saying this

      1. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

        Re: Doesn't really make sense

        Exactly.

        Huawei surpassed Apple in sales, then banned from USA within weeks. Apple idiot tax device sales are down 11% yoy.

        Then Xiaomi surpassed Apple in November, now this happens.

        Remember that Apple is a staggeringly profitable company, $2.2 trillion, while at least half of Samsung is owned by US hedge/pension funds.

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Doesn't really make sense

        Exactly. Xiaomi makes very capable phones for sub £200. Apple's phones cost £1000 on top of that. It smacks of protectionism.

        The last phone I bought was a Xiaomi Redmi Note 9. I paid around £170 for it at the time; I see they are now going for £150. It might not have all the latest bling of the newest iPhone, but I've not found any problems with it, or anything it doesn't do that I want it to. Add to that, that it is dual-SIM and has removable storage (although sadly, not removable battery), and reportedly doesn't mind being dunked in water (I'm not going to try that) and I see no need to spend the extra £1000 on something that will get the exact same uses.

        I'm not about to start using their "Xiaomi Cloud" though. I suspect that's more likely to hoover up personal data than Facebook and Google combined.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Doesn't really make sense

      It’s becoming ever more clear that the US can’t compete on merit any more and is worried about the inevitable day when they become irrelevant on the world stage. Ironically they’re ignoring the fact that this treatment of China will haunt them when that does happen. Imagine the rest of the world banning Apple because China tells them to.

      Lucky for US the Chinese aren’t like that.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Doesn't really make sense

        "Ironically they’re ignoring the fact that this treatment of China will haunt them when that does happen."

        Politicians' view of the future does not extend beyond the next electoral cycle.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Doesn't really make sense

          "Politicians' view of the future does not extend beyond the next electoral cycle."

          Indeed, and then they pretend to be interested in "your" future.

      2. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

        Re: Doesn't really make sense

        I'm not entirely sure why they're doing this. It's fair to say the US are annoyed at the double standards in China, where Google search, Twitter and Facebook/WhatsApp are banned at network level. So it's possible they're trying to make a point..

        1. EnviableOne Silver badge

          Re: Doesn't really make sense

          theyre all banned at my network level too.

          none of that anti-social data slurping in Ma Hoose

      3. Clunking Fist

        Re: Doesn't really make sense

        "It’s becoming ever more clear that the US can’t compete on merit any more"

        If China abolishes slavery, it would become easier to compete on the manufacturing side...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Doesn't really make sense

      Huawei code is inspected by third-parties (at least in UK) so it's hardly likely to include an overt backdoor. Much more likely is a sprinkling of vulnerabilities, disguised as "crappy code", which can be exploited to create a backdoor at some point in the future.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Doesn't really make sense

        >It’s becoming ever more clear that the US can’t compete on merit any more

        Utter nonsense. All phones use ecosystems created by US companies. They dominate the online world.

        The problem is the US is capitalism's biggest fan. It's cheaper for a company to have things made for them in China using cheap labour and lax environmental laws. The fact that this puts Americans out of work isn't their problem. The fact that it gives China access to the technology also isn't their problem.

        There's not a great deal positive to credit Trump for but at least he's recognised this and tried to do something about it. However, the way he has done it has been mostly ineffective because stuff is still being sent there.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Doesn't really make sense

          Let me reassure you: he has recognized nothing, and there's still very much nothing positive to his credit.

          Are you aware that the Chinese government has more than doubled the minimum wages in China in the last decade? Well, now you are. https://tradingeconomics.com/china/minimum-wages

          And do you know who's the first to start bleating and screaming bloody murder when that happens? Why, US companies and consumers, of course, neither of which want to pay more for their shiny stuff.

          https://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/01/business/global/01wages.html

          And about environmental laws - you were joking, right? Trump has been the one doing his best to repeal any environmental laws he could in the US. You can't quite admire him and blame others without some serious cognitive dissonance.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Doesn't really make sense

          "All phones use ecosystems created by US companies. They dominate the online world."

          That may be true in the "West". Not so true in China, much of Asia, much of Africa, India etc.

        3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Doesn't really make sense

          Utter nonsense. All phones use ecosystems created by US companies. They dominate the online world.

          Yeah, yeah, and the US invented the motor car, TV, radio, apple pie, hot-dogs, denim...

          Except, of course, none of those things is true.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Doesn't really make sense

        "exploited to create a backdoor at some point in the future."

        As opposed to actually having had deliberate back doors surreptitiously inserted at some point in the supply chain in the past.

        1. Muppet Boss

          Re: Doesn't really make sense

          Authorized by a secret court, I should add.

    4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      "The hardware it makes does go into the backbone of a critical resource, and if someone could disrupt, intercept, or disable that resource, there would be big problems. "

      I'm sorry, are you talking about Cisco ?

      Or maybe Netgear ? No, not Netgear - they disrupt themselves already, no need to meddle.

      The fact of the matter is that there is no argument against Huawei that could not be made against any other provider as far as security is concerned.

      And don't get me started on the "secret backdoor" or "modified mainboards" bullshit that is clearly a lie, plain and simple.

      If there had been any shred of proof, do you really think Washington wouldn't have it plastered all over the Web and on billboards along the highway ?

      It's a lie, fabricated to support a desperate effort to curb Huawei and give a chance to US companies in the 5G arena - chance they do not really deserve if the market is supposed to determine things.

      But the US has form in fabricating lies to further its own goals (WMDs in Irak, anyone ?).

  3. _LC_ Silver badge
    Pint

    Looking forward

    Xiaomi already got a glimpse at what is coming. I'm looking forward to Xiaomi dumping Qualcomm now. They might even join in on the new OS from Huawei.

    Good news!

  4. MrMerrymaker

    As long as the UK doesn't copy it

    Their phones are amazing.

    This is a groundless ban. A racist one even.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: As long as the UK doesn't copy it

      I dont think its racist - merely the land of the free deciding free trade isn't all its cracked up to be and trying to find excuses to hamper imports. They've done it before and they'll do it again.

    2. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

      Re: As long as the UK doesn't copy it

      The poco x3 NFC phone is looking stonking for a ~£175 device.

      Why pay £800 to Apple for a Chinese phone, when you can buy decent enough Chinese phones for £175?

      With a 5200mah battery (50% bigger than "normal") and 33W USB charging as standard (~2x faster than regular), it's a beast. Probably my next phone.

      1. EnviableOne Silver badge

        Re: As long as the UK doesn't copy it

        Because Shiney, "its got an apple logo on it, so its better than whatever you have"

        Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, Huawei, TCL(Alacatel,blackberry), Lenovo(Motorola) all make very good phones at a fraction of the cost, but 50% of right pondians and 60% of left pondians wont buy anything without the fruit based logo

    3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: As long as the UK doesn't copy it

      I think "racist" is a bit strong. It's just common-or-garden xenophobia; fear of anything foreign, rather than specifically racist against the Chinese. Although Trump appears to be equally fearful of anywhere where the skin tone is less orange white than his, in this case, I think this is a product of populist nationalism rather than racism. Not that nationalism is a good thing either; people see to forget that this was one of the root causes of two world wars. The rise of the nation state pretty much directly led to the first one, and that Mr Hitler wouldn't have got very far without the strong nationalist aspect to his political ideology.

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