Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Taiwan joins growing list of countries to target Chinese technology

Taiwan has recently issued a series of restrictions on Chinese tech companies, from streaming apps to e-commerce.

Why it matters: Critics say that recent U.S. restrictions on Chinese tech companies stem from Trumpism rather than legitimate concerns. But Taiwan is spooked by Chinese tech as well.


  • The moves come amid a warming U.S.-Taiwan relationship, and as both countries grow more alarmed about Beijing's goals in the region.

What's happening: On Aug. 24, Taiwanese authorities ordered e-commerce website Taobao Taiwan to register as a Chinese company, a designation that in Taiwan comes with tougher regulations, rather than as a foreign company.

  • Taiwanese regulators said that Taobao Taiwan, which is owned by a British-registered company, is ultimately controlled by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which owns Taobao in mainland China.
  • Last week, Taiwan also issued new rules that prohibit Chinese streaming platforms Tencent and iQiyi from operating there.

The big picture: Taiwan's proximity to China, its tiny relative size, and the knowledge that the Chinese Communist Party aims to annex it has made some of the self-governing democracy's policies appear prescient.

  • Taiwan excluded Huawei from its digital infrastructure back in 2014. Taiwan's digital minister, Audrey Tang, has called Huawei a "Trojan horse."
  • Young Taiwanese occupied the nation's legislature in 2014 in protest of a potential trade pact with China, concerned about the political leverage that Beijing could wield if the two economies deepened their ties. Concerns about China's use of economic power to interfere in democratic politics did not become widespread in Western countries until around 2018.

Context: Taiwan's recent moves come amid growing concern in several countries about Chinese tech companies.

  • President Trump recently issued an executive order calling for the forced sale of Chinese video app TikTok to a non-Chinese company and prohibiting transactions with Chinese messaging app WeChat.
  • Several European countries, after U.S. urging, have stated that they will limit or exclude Chinese telecom giant Huawei from their 5G networks.
  • India, embroiled in a border dispute with China, has banned dozens of Chinese apps.

Yes, but: It's not clear what major national security concerns would be alleviated by the Trump administration's executive order on WeChat. And vague wording has left Chinese people abroad worried about what new barriers they may face when trying to stay in touch with loved ones back in China.

  • In addition, the Trump administration's tendency to mix politics and business has muddied the waters, fueling speculation that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's private warning to the administration last October influenced the administration's decision to investigate TikTok — which is a direct Facebook competitor.

The bottom line: The Taiwanese government views Chinese tech companies as a serious problem deserving of regulation, scrutiny and, if necessary, exclusion.

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Keep reading... Show less

Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Keep reading... Show less

What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories