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February 20, 2020

The most important thing I learned this week – the greatest economic threat facing the United States…

The greatest threat facing the United States is China’s rapid advance in trying to dominate the 5G market and control the next generation of internet, the “Industrial Internet.”

5 years ago China launched its “Made in China 2025” plan which has hundreds of billions of dollars in backing from the communist Chinese government.  The stakes for the United States could not be higher. Since the 19th century, the United States has been the world’s leader in innovation and technology and have not moved to confront and counteract China’s playbook.

The Chinese are using corruption and outright intellectual property theft in their aggressive attempts to corner the 5G market and communist China’s economic aggression and theft of intellectual property costs the U.S. economy up to $600 billion per year.

5G technology lies at the center of the technological and industrial world that is taking shape. In essence, communications networks are not just for communications anymore, they are evolving into the central nervous system of the next generation of internet, called the ‘Industrial Internet,’ and the next generation of industrial systems that will depend on that infrastructure. China has built up a lead in 5G, capturing 40 percent of the global 5G infrastructure market. For the first time in history, the United States is not leading the next technology era.

Much of the discussion on the dangers of allowing China to establish dominance in 5G has been focused on the immediate security concern of using communications networks that China can monitor and surveil.

It has been estimated that the Industrial Internet powered by 5G could generate new economic opportunities of $23 trillion by 2025. If China establishes sole dominance over 5G, it will be able to dominate the opportunities arising from a stunning range of emerging technologies that will be dependent on, and interwoven with the 5G platform.

From a national security standpoint, if the Industrial Internet becomes dependent on Chinese technology, China would have the ability to shut countries off from technology and equipment upon which their consumers and industry depend The power the United States has today to use economic sanctions would pale by comparison to the unprecedented economic leverage we would be surrendering into the hands of China.

It is important to understand how 5G will enable a revolution in industrial processes, and that it is not the same thing as moving from 3G to 4G.

What 5G offers is multi-Gigabits per second peak rates for both download and upload and these fiber-like speeds, coupled with placing “Edge Computing” facilities closer to the users, means 5G is capable of extremely low latency – under 10 milliseconds.  With this capacity, the tiniest devices can have virtually instantaneous inter-connectivity, and access infinite computing power.  With these characteristics, 5G becomes a real time, precise command and control system.

As the world of 5G unfolds, we will be seeing not just smart homes, but smart farms, smart factories, smart heavy construction, smart transportation systems, and a host of new emerging technologies, in addition to AI, will become interwoven with and dependent upon 5G and the Industrial Internet, including for example: robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.

It is important to note that 5G is an infrastructure business because it relies on a Radio Access Network (RAN), in which China currently dominates the market.

Within the next five years, 5G global territory and application dominance will be determined.  The question is whether, within this window, the United States and our allies can mount sufficient competition to Huawei to retain and capture enough market share to sustain the kind of long-term and robust competitive position necessary to avoid surrendering dominance to the Chinese.

It is imperative to make two decisions right away –  that we are united in the ideal to not surrender the technology high ground and committed to prevail now.