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While the discussion about the security and threads of 5G and influences of China is still a hot political debate, we have a totally new player in the Market – The European Tourism Industry. Some people are totally shocked to hear it, but you don’t need to be genius to understand why Tourism industry is rushing into new ICT infrastructure. These new customers are very pragmatic. They don’t need to be the inventor of 5G, or worry too much about it. Instead, they clearly know the values of 5G for the end users. It is actually very simple. The high speed internet infrastructure of 5G, which is approximately 100 times faster than previous Generation 4G, is a huge technology enabler. It allows us to finally implement concepts such as Industry 4.0, Internet of Things (IoT), Autonomous vehicles, Smart Homes, Smart Hotels, and Smart Urban development. The 5G makes all of these accessible for public.
The concern on 5G is mainly in the Unites States and a few English speaking allies. These concerns are mainly focused on the large market share of the Chinese technology giant Huawei, which is currently a major supplier of 5G technology. ZTE from China is also among the top 5, and together they have a market share of about 40 to 50%. It is actually quite a lot, especially when you compare it to their market share about 10 years ago. The other three players among top 5 are Samsung (Korea), Ericsson (Sweden) and Nokia (Finland). From the European perspective this is nice spectrum, and there is nothing to worry about. For now, the Chinese firms offer an inexpensive product, and if one day we are unhappy about it, we have very good law enforcement through the European Commission. This is especially important if the technology provider is connected with the intelligence services of China. Secondly we, the European, still have our own alternative solutions in Europe. So, you see the perspective and the concerns in Europe are very different than that in the United States or in the other countries, who do not have a major 5G provider.
We have now a very unusual situation that the conservative Europe is accelerating in the field of 5G and Industry 4.0, while the United States in pressing the brake pedals, mainly because of the political or security reasons. It is still too early to talk about the future and major consequences. Maybe there will be a paradigm shift, or the situation that the America is not the first anymore. The expert believe that China will be the first economical and world power, and the second power is most probably the Europe. The other world powers can fight to be in the third place. When it comes to career development and study abroad, the United State is not the best option anymore, specially for the new “fresh off the boats”. Also China is not a best option for career development and study abroad either. The central Europe is now the most desirable target. Also when it comes to employability of graduates, the Europe is the Pioneer in the field of Industry 4.0, IoT and interdisciplinary application of ICT, and offers more opportunities than anywhere else in the world. The Europe is also very innovative in term of work force mobility and offering flexible student oriented courses. There are organizations such as Cademix that offer interdisciplinary high tech Education together with tech career acceleration and entrepreneurship programs. These short programs are very interesting for students and graduates, moving to Europe especially in term of return on investment. A major advantage is that they guarantee and secure an industrial placement after graduation, what is not even thinkable outside the Europe. Most probably in 5 to 10 years, the number of Industry 4.0, ICT and IoT experts required in the Tourism sector and hotels is more than the number of people employed in the hotel receptions.
The success of Washington’s “Clean Network” campaign to promote China-free data infrastructure around the world depends on European cooperation. But the US shouldn’t count on it, political scientist Xuewu Gu told DW (Deutsche Welle)
Professor Xuewu Gu is a Sino-German expert on this topic. In an article with Deutsche Welle, he says: The only option would be: either Choose the American, or the Chinese.
This conundrum would be a nightmare for Europe, as the Clean Network initiative could force Europeans into a technological abyss. Will rational Europeans show enthusiasm for Pompeo’s appeals? Their apathy and silence are answering “no.”
Professor Xuewu Gu is a Sino-German expert. He is the director of the Center for Global Studies at the Univerrsity of Bonn.