Chinese tech entrepreneurs keen to ‘de-China’ as tensions with US soar

  • Amid escalating U.S.-Sino trade tensions, particularly after Washington slapped sanctions on telecom giant Huawei (HWT.UL), some Chinese firms began setting up headquarters overseas – moves that could help them draw less U.S. government attention.
  • Now, some mainland China tech business owners say they need to go further and gain permanent residency or citizenship abroad to avoid the curbs on and the biases against Chinese companies in the United States.
  • While U.S.-China tensions may have been given new impetus under the Trump administration which levied tariffs broadly and imposed sanctions on Huawei, the friction has continued unabated under President Joe Biden as both countries vie for global tech pre-eminence.
  • Major flashpoints include U.S. export curbs on chips and data security concerns that have seen ByteDance-owned TikTok banned on U.S. government devices and altogether by the state of Montana. For its part, China recently blocked key industries from using Micron Technology (MU.O) products and has sought to rein in foreign consultancies and due diligence firms.
  • Geopolitical tensions have meant a far less friendly atmosphere for mainland Chinese companies wanting to operate or gain funding in the United States, the entrepreneurs and consultants say.

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