A local news outlet reported on June 27 that the U.S. government asked the South Korean government not to cooperate with China in developing 5G and drone technologies. “This shows South Korea may be caught in the middle with the ongoing trade war between the United States and China transforming into a race for dominance in the Industry 4.0 era,” according to the Seoul-based daily newspaper.
China is trying to take the lead in the era by taking the initiative in the field of 5G mobile service. In this context, the Chinese government established an organization named IMT-2020 Project five years ago and has exercised its influence on 5G standardization in cooperation with Chinese IT companies including China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Huawei and ZTE. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China is planning to invest 85 trillion won (US$76.5 billion) for six years to come in order to develop and popularize 5G technology and the three Chinese mobile carriers are going to invest 200 trillion won (US$180 billion) for the same purposes.
At Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2018, which kicked off on June 27, Huawei unveiled a variety of 5G solutions, including 5G-based surgical robots, high-definition virtual reality solutions and real-time fire alarm systems. Likewise, China Mobile attracted the attention of the visitors with various 5G techniques such as a remote excavator control technique.
However, China’s rise in the 5G industry may be hindered if the United States makes more efforts to keep it in check. Less cooperation with South Korean companies, in particular, may lead to more difficulties in European market penetration. “South Korea is regarded as the best test bed for new technology for global IT companies,” said an industry source, adding, “China may take a direct hit if South Korean mobile carriers refuse to adopt Huawei’s equipment in establishing 5G networks.”