Will ‘Woke’ California Hand Tech Industry to China?

Will ‘Woke’ California Hand Tech Industry to China?

A man tests a Huawei smartphone at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Shanghai on June 28, 2023. (Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images)

John Seiler

John Seiler

1/31/2024

Updated: 2/5/2024

0

Commentary
This should scare every American, especially Californians. Our state’s vaunted global tech dominance is being challenged by communist China—even as our state is damaging itself through “wokeness.”
TechNode just reported on how the giant Chinese tech firm Huawei plans to dominate the global smartphone market. The firm announced applications for software developers of its HarmonyOS Next operating system. That system competes directly with Apple’s iOS for the iPhone and iPad, and also Google’s Android for most non-Apple smartphones and tablets.
Huawei also “looks to cut its ties with Android” on which its smartphones currently depend, as do those from Samsung, Motorola, Google’s Pixel, and other firms. Most of those non-Huawei phones currently are made in China, as are Apple’s iPhones.
TechNode continued, “While all previous consumer versions of Huawei HarmonyOS have been compatible with Android, HarmonyOS NEXT will break away from Android architecture, establishing itself as a truly independent operating system. ...
“At the time of writing, more than 200 software companies have initiated the development of native HarmonyOS applications, making up 90 percent of the leading applications in the domestic sector, according to Huawei. Huawei aims to achieve a short-term goal of reaching 5,000 collaborative apps by the end of this year, and anticipates exceeding 500,000 applications to join the native HarmonyOS ecosystem in the long term.”

Seeking Smartphone Dominance

This is the first major attempt to break the Apple–Android duopoly on the software that runs smartphones and tablets since Microsoft’s Windows Phone, which ran from 2010 until its discontinuation in 2020. If mighty Microsoft couldn’t crack that market, then the task remains daunting for Huawei, despite its many advantages. But they are going for the prize.
Recently, Apple and Microsoft have been dueling for the honor of being the world’s most valuable company. As I write, the market capitalization for Microsoft is $2.95 trillion, Apple $2.85 trillion, Saudi Aramco (oil) $1.98 trillion, and Alphabet (Google) $1.76 trillion. While Huawei doesn’t trade publicly because it is a “private” company, Phone Arena reported in December, “Huawei could be worth more than Apple as it considers going public in 2024.”
People arrive to attend the Huawei keynote address at the IFA 2020 Special Edition consumer electronics and appliances trade fair on the fair's opening day in Berlin, Germany, on Sept. 3, 2020. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

People arrive to attend the Huawei keynote address at the IFA 2020 Special Edition consumer electronics and appliances trade fair on the fair's opening day in Berlin, Germany, on Sept. 3, 2020. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Nobody knows if that will happen. But U.S. sanctions spurred China’s chip development.
“A new Huawei phone has defeated US chip sanctions against China,” Quartz reported in September 2023. “SMIC, China’s top chipmaker, has manufactured a 7-nanometer processor for Huawei’s Mate 60 Pro—despite US chip sanctions against China.”
But consider this, the South China Morning Post reported last month, “Huawei’s HarmonyOS to beat Apple’s iOS as the No. 2 smartphone operating system in China in 2024,” and also reported, “McDonald’s China pushes development of native apps based on HarmonyOS, as adoption of Huawei’s mobile operating system accelerates.”
If people order Big Macs in your operating system, you’ve really made it.
Apple and Google almost certainly will remain dominant in the United States and Europe. But the rest of the world? Will cheaper smartphones running HarmonyOS be more popular among the poor in Africa, Latin America, and many parts of Asia?

California Needs STEM Brains

This is where California could lose America’s tech duel with communist China with the state’s dumbing-down of its school systems. It’s replacing an emphasis on STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—with an obsession with not making students feel bad. In industry, it is replacing competition with ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) and DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion). But the “S” in ESG really is socialism.
I have reported in The Epoch Times on the war on tough school standards in such articles as, “How Scholars, Parents Are Fighting the ‘Communist Education Deep State’” and “California Education Board Dumbs Down Math Instruction.”
How far the state’s school system has fallen from what some Baby Boomers remember as its “golden age” in the 1960s, when it led the nation in tech education. That paid off with real results.
The public Homestead High School in Cupertino boasts on its website, “During the late 1960s and 1970s, the school was a haven for students interested in electronics and the emerging computer age. Homestead played a large role in the development of Silicon Valley, with distinguished alumni including Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.”
Shortly after graduating, they co-founded Apple, whose headquarters is located in Cupertino.
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces a new lineup of products during a special event at Apple Park in Cupertino, Calif., on March 8, 2022. (Brooks Kraft/Apple Inc./Handout via Reuters)

Apple CEO Tim Cook announces a new lineup of products during a special event at Apple Park in Cupertino, Calif., on March 8, 2022. (Brooks Kraft/Apple Inc./Handout via Reuters)

‘Woke’ Companies

But it’s not just dumbing-down the schools. It’s the atmosphere of ESG and DEI that has infested the companies themselves, dulling competition. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that, since the highly innovative and ultra-competitive Jobs died in 2011, Apple has produced no genius new products. The Apple Watch was in the pipeline before he died.
The company’s stock has multiplied 15 times since then, a great accomplishment. But all the company has done is consolidate its brilliant product lineup and add more content. True achievements, certainly. I mostly use Apple products.
However, that high valuation also has been achieved with accusations of using slave labor in China. The Information wrote in 2021, “Seven Apple Suppliers Accused of Using Forced Labor from Xinjiang.” It’s “suspected of being part of China’s alleged genocide against Uyghurs.” The new evidence, based on satellite photos, “stands in contrast to Apple’s statements that it hasn’t found evidence of forced labor.”
Back here in America, like all major tech companies, Apple is obsessed with ESG and DEI. On its website, under Investor Relations, we find the Environmental Social Governance Report.
“We work with teachers, advocates, and entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds as part of our Racial Equity and Justice Initiative,“ CEO Tim Cook says. ”We help create opportunity in communities on the frontlines of climate change through the Restore Fund, which supports carbon removal and sustainable forestry. And we provide resources and training to the next generation of innovators through the Apple Developer Academy and educational initiatives across the globe.”
As I have said several times, “equality” is the old civil rights idea of equal opportunity and non-discrimination, while “equity” is the socialist control and distribution of resources and privileges based on political power.
The document reports under the headline “Increased representation in leadership”: “In calendar year 2021, 47% of open leadership roles were filled by women globally, an increase of 10 percentage points since 2020, and we’ve had an 87% increase in women in leadership since 2014. And in 2021, we hired more Black and Hispanic/Latinx team members in the U.S. than ever before, with 13% open leadership roles filled by Black candidates and 12% filled by Hispanic/Latinx candidates.
“Since 2014, we’ve had an 84% increase in the number of Black employees and a 90% increase in the number of Hispanic/Latinx employees in leadership in the U.S.”
Things get awkward for Apple, though, when we look at the Diversity section of the company’s website. We find this chart:
(Apple.com/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

(Apple.com/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Well, at least they’re not discriminating against Asians as Harvard and the University of North Carolina did before last year’s Supreme Court decision rejecting affirmative action. But here’s the current U.S. ethnic percentage breakdown, according to the U.S. Census Bureau:
  • White alone: 58.9 percent (not Hispanic or Latino);
  • Hispanic or Latino 19.1 percent (they don’t use Apple’s Latinx designation Latinos hate);
  • Black 13.6 percent;
  • Asian 6.3 percent;
  • American Indian 1.3 percent;
  • Other 0.8 percent.
If Apple is so obsessed with DEI, why doesn’t it exactly match those numbers? I’m joking, of course. But you can find similar statements on the websites of Alphabet/Google, Microsoft, Meta/Facebook, and all the other top U.S. tech companies.

Huawei’s Priorities

By contrast, let’s look at Huawei’s ESG and DEI statements. I did searches on their website. Here’s what I found on Huawei.com/en. For ESG, there only are a couple of links for “Enterprise Strategy Group,” something different.
For DEI, I did find this: “Fostering change from within. By Berta Herrero, Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Huawei Europe. ... Diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) have always been important to the company. Now, these values are being taken into consideration in a way that contributes to equal opportunities within society and enables an inclusive approach to leadership, innovation, and growth.”
It’s obvious that Huawei is just trying to placate DEI pressures from woke Europeans. But there’s nothing close to a companywide policy such as for Apple and the other U.S. tech giants.
For Huawei, the emphasis is on making products that beat America.

We Must All Hang Together

As Benjamin Franklin said during America’s revolution against the world’s greatest empire of the time, “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” He was both a genius inventor and an American Founding Father.
America needs to return to its old spirit of giving equal opportunity for all, not equality of results. It’s the spirit of rugged individualism and fierce competition that built this country, along the way lifting all boats. We must hang together—and compete with one another in a system of fairness for all.
While few students will become math geniuses and start innovative new companies, all need to be schooled in STEM fields with stiff competition. Obviously, many won’t reach the top levels. But the race to the top is essential. And even those who score at the lower levels at least will have been challenged, and have learned something useful. Someone scoring low on, say, trigonometry still would learn how to think in a way that would help in being a carpenter or a plumber.
Communist China sure isn’t stopping. Sops to sappy Europeans and Americans to the contrary, there’s no ESG and DEI in their system.
In the battle for the future, it’s California versus China, and California is surrendering.
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John Seiler

John Seiler

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John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. Mr. Seiler has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com and his email is writejohnseiler@gmail.com

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