Hello Interconnected Readers:
I want to start off by citing a phrase from Matthew Prince, the CEO of Cloudflare:
I, personally, believe in strong Freedom of Speech protections, but I also acknowledge that it is a very American idea that is not shared globally. On the other hand, the concept of Due Process is close to universal.
He wrote this as part of a blog post in 2018 explaining why Cloudflare banned a right-wing website called, the Daily Stormer.
[If you’d like to skip ahead to the six news stories and commentaries – three from English language sources, three from Chinese language sources -- here are this issue’s items:
- “What Biden’s Victory Means for Tech” (English Source: The Information)
- “Clouded Judgement” (English Source: The Wire China)
- “How billionaire Jack Ma fell to earth and took Ant's mega IPO with him” (English Source: Reuters)
- “Jack Ma is still Jack Ma” (Chinese Source: Sina Finance News)
- “Kuaishou Submits IPO Prospectus to Hong Kong Stock Exchange: Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and China Renaissance as Joint Underwriters, May Become China's First ‘Short Video Stock’” (Chinese Source: iponews)
- “ASML China's President: Company remains open to exporting lithography equipment to China” (Chinese Source: Pengpai News)]
Procedural justice, as expressed by Due Process, is perhaps the most universal value that human beings can agree on, regardless of culture, language, and tradition. Putting it more plainly, an outcome is only as good as the process that produced it.
I’ve thought and wrote a lot about procedural justice this year, in the context of Facebook and Twitter’s content moderation controversies, the TikTok “ban”, and regulatory grift. Procedural justice played out in real life during this last week, as ballot counting proceeded throughout the United States to elect its next president. The speed of counting and reporting may have frustrated a lot of people (especially in Nevada where I am doing volunteer work right now), but that’s exactly how a system with procedural justice and Due Process should play out -- unflappably progressing at its own pace based on agreed-upon rules to produce an outcome. Only when a process is played out, openly and transparently, does the outcome it produces have credibility, not just to the people who like the outcome, but especially to the people who don’t.
Procedural justice isn’t just important for large, weighty decisions like picking a president. It permeates all facets of our lives.
Whenever your boss at work makes a decision that you have to do, if the process was open and well-reasoned, you would feel good showing up to work, even if you don’t like the decision (“disagree and commit”, as Bezos would say). If the process is shoddy and arbitrary, you become demoralized and dejected; that’s how companies lose talent.
Whenever your parents tell you to do something, whether you are a child or an adult, you would love and respect your parents more if that “something” had at least some well-reasoned process behind it. Instead, if all you got was an edict by someone who assumed authority just because they were your parents, you become equally demoralized and dejected; that’s how familial bonds deteriorate and Thanksgiving (or Lunar New Year) dinners become more stressful than joyful.
The American election process is still not over -- each state must certify its own results after every vote is counted, and electors of the Electoral College will meet on December 14 to officially cast their choice for president on behalf of the states they represent. In the meantime, lawsuits will happen, controversies will ensue, and conspiracy theories will not stop popping up. But that’s ok. The American democratic system -- with all its problems and foibles -- has been resilient, because Due Process is respected and the procedure is just.
An outcome is only as good as the process that produced it.
The summary below covers the period between November 3 - 8, 2020 of six news stories – three from English language sources, three from Chinese language sources. Disclaimer: all translated article titles are done by me, not official translations from the media outlets.
Before you go on, please check out last week's deep dive post: "Some Bearish Thoughts on RISC-V"
“What Biden’s Victory Means for Tech” (English Source: The Information)
My Thoughts: With a Biden presidency becoming more or less certain, how a new administration’s policies will impact the tech sector has become an active source of speculation. This article identified five major areas: antitrust, Section 230, immigration, taxes, trade (in the US-China trade war sense). Generally, I agree that these five areas are important, but would like to add another: advanced manufacturing. Biden’s tech policy must not only look backward (i.e. regulate what has been happening), but look forward, by boosting American competitiveness and patching gaping holes in its advanced manufacturing capabilities. On the US-China front, pigeon-holing the technology discussion into the trade war, as this article framed, is also near-sighted. The trade war must be dealt with, but the impact of technology is far greater and needs its own separate bilateral dialogue, where both policymakers and technologists are part of the conversation.
“Clouded Judgement” (English Source: The Wire China)
My Thoughts: Long time Interconnected readers know I write a lot about the cloud industry -- on both specific platforms and its implications to geopolitical relationships around the world. I enjoyed reading this piece, because it does a good job of encapsulating the overall dynamic of the struggle that American cloud platforms are having in China. When it comes to cloud computing, China is much more of a walled-garden than even other tech sectors, because cloud is considered strategically important. Market access was supposed to be on the table for discussion during the so-called Phase Two of the trade war, but with an incoming Biden presidency, the whole conversation will likely be completely reset and re-prioritized. I don’t see new trade discussions changing the current market dynamic for American cloud platforms trying to enter China or for Chinese cloud platforms seeking to do business in the US. Each side will comfortably reside on their home turf and, as I’ve noted in “Southeast Asia and the Pacific Light Cable Network”, compete in other parts of the world.
“How billionaire Jack Ma fell to earth and took Ant's mega IPO with him” (English Source: Reuters)
My Thoughts: The scuttled Ant Group IPO was big news and would’ve been bigger if it didn’t coincide with the American election. I highlight this article in particular, because its title and reporting is representative of the overall, rather simplistic narrative around this story. There is much more to it all than “Jack Ma spoke out of turn, angered government regulators, and is now in the dog house and lost billions of dollars from the canceled IPO”. I will write a deep dive on this topic next week. For now, it’s suffice to say: Jack Ma knew what he was doing and got exactly what he wanted.
“Jack Ma is still Jack Ma” (Chinese Source: Sina Finance News)
My thoughts: For those who can read Chinese, this is a good techlore piece that balances out some of the Western media coverage on Ma’s Bund Summit speech and the subsequent Ant IPO cancellation. While it is difficult to verify all the anecdotes in this article, they are plausible given Ma’s consistently outspoken nature and political astuteness in knowing which buttons to push and when. One anecdote stood out to me: in 2004, Ma called his team from Davos to begin building what would later become AliPay right away and told everyone that “if someone needs to go to prison, I will go.” Since then, AliPay has become ubiquitous in China, Ant has become a fintech behemoth, and Ma has become several billions richer. Yet, China’s regulatory framework has largely stood still, while P2P lending scandals have harmed millions of people. Like I said, Ma knows which buttons to push and when.
“Kuaishou Submits IPO Prospectus to Hong Kong Stock Exchange: Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and China Renaissance as Joint Underwriters, May Become China's First ‘Short Video Stock’” (Chinese Source: iponews)
My thoughts: This Kuaishou IPO in Hong Kong is long anticipated. Given everything that ByteDance has gone through, and is still going through, in the US, a New York public listing was probably never seriously considered. And as I noted in last week’s Interconnected Weekly, the Hong Kong exchange has been doing pretty well too! Some top line numbers from Kuaishou’s prospectus worth noting: MAUs are 776 million, DAUs are 302 million. Besides advertisement, it also has revenue streams from livestreaming e-commerce, gaming, and virtual goods gifting. In fact, it claims to have the most paying users of virtual goods gifting in the world.
“ASML China's President: Company remains open to exporting lithography equipment to China” (Chinese Source: Pengpai News)
My thoughts: This interview given by the head of ASML’s China operation is official and diplomatic, but important to note nonetheless. ASML, as a company, would of course love to do more business in China as the country’s semiconductor industry balloons; it does not want to be seen as biased in any way. However, its most advanced EUV equipment -- the one everyone needs to make advanced chips as small as 5nm -- is waiting for licensing permission from the Dutch Government to be sold to China. The Dutch government has acquiesced to the Trump administration’s pressure before, intervening ASML orders from going to Mainland China. If and how US influence will change under a Biden administration abroad, which promises more alliances and less isolation, will certainly impact how ASML does business in China in a big way.
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这段话是他在2018年的一篇博客文章中写道的，当时是为了解释为什么Cloudflare封了一个叫The Daily Stormer 的右翼网站。
- “拜登的胜利对科技界意味着什么？”（英文来源: The Information）
- “阴霾的判断”（英文来源: The Wire China）
- “亿万富翁马云是如何落地并牵连蚂蚁的巨额IPO的？”（英文来源: 路透社）
- “马云还是那个马云” (中文来源: 新浪财经）
- “快手递交赴港IPO招股书：大摩、美银与华兴资本为联席保荐人，或将成国内“短视频第一股” (中文来源: 独角兽早知道）
- “ASML中国总裁：对向中国出口光刻机保持开放态度” (中文来源: 澎湃新闻）】
关于程序正义这个话题，我今年想了很多，也写了很多，从Facebook和Twitter内容节制政策的争议、到TikTok的"禁令"、以及监管欺诈等事件中。上一周，程序正义对现实生活的影响发挥得淋漓尽致，全美各地都在进行计票过程来选举下一任总统。计票和报票数的缓慢速度可能让很多人感到不安（尤其是我现在在做志愿者工作的内华达州），但这正是一个具有程序正义和正当程序的制度应该体现的 -- 不被任何感情影响地按照约定的规则和自己的节奏来产出一个结果。只有当一个程序公开透明地进行时，它所产生的结果才有公信力。这种公信力不仅体现在喜欢产出的结果的人中，而更体现在不同意这个结果的人里。
每当父母让你做某件事时，不管你是个孩子还是已经成年，如果这个 "某件事 "背后的“程序”至少是有理有据的，你会更加爱护和尊重你的父母。相反，如果你得到的仅仅是个“父母大人的命令”，你同样会变得低落和沮丧；这就是许多家庭关系恶化的原因，把感恩节（或春节）的团圆变得压力大于欢乐。
美国的总统选举过程还尚未结束 -- 每个州在数完每张选票后必须正式证明其最终结果，选举团（Electoral College）的每位选举人将于12月14日聚集，以代表各自州的身份正式选择下一位总统。在此期间，各种诉讼、争议和阴谋论会源源不断地出现。但这都没关系。美国的民主制度，尽管有很多问题和缺陷，是很有韧性的，因为正当程序得到了尊重，整个过程也是公正的。
“拜登的胜利对科技界意味着什么？”（英文来源: The Information）
“阴霾的判断”（英文来源: The Wire China）
我的想法: 《互联》的长期读者都知道我写了很多关于云计算行业的文章 -- 从分析具体平台的产品，到云对全球地缘政治关系的影响。我很喜欢读这篇文章，因为它很好地概括了美国云厂商在进入中国市场时面临的种种困难。云计算行业在中国要比其他行业更封闭，因为云被视为有重要的战略意义。在所谓的贸易战第二阶段期间，科技行业的市场进入问题本来是谈判桌上的议题之一，但随着拜登做为新一任总统的上任，整个对话很可能会重新开始，这种议题的优先级都会改变。我不认为新一轮的贸易谈判会改变目前美国云厂商试图进入中国市场的困难，中国云平台想改善在美国做生意的环境也不会有太大改变。双方都会在自己的主场安居乐业，也正如我在《东南亚与太平洋光缆网》一文中指出的，它们还会在世界其他地区进行竞争。
我的想法: 蚂蚁集团IPO被取消是个大新闻，如果不是恰逢美国大选，会是个更大的新闻。我想特别分享这篇文章，因为它的标题和报道代表了许多媒体对这个故事的相当简化的叙述角度。这一切远不止是 "马云出言不逊，激怒政府监管部门，现在被惩罚，取消的IPO让他损失了好几十亿" 这么简单。我将在下周写一篇关于这个话题的深度分析。现在我只想说：马云知道他在做什么，并且得到了他想要的东西。
“马云还是那个马云” (中文来源: 新浪财经）
“快手递交赴港IPO招股书：大摩、美银与华兴资本为联席保荐人，或将成国内“短视频第一股” (中文来源: 独角兽早知道）
我的想法: 这次快手在香港上市是大家期待已久的。考虑到字节跳动在美国经历的一切，以及仍在经历的各种事情，快手可能从未认真考虑过在纽约上市。正如我在上周的《互联周刊》中提到的，香港交易所的业绩也相当不错! 快手的招股书中，有一些值得注意的数据：MAUs是7.76亿，DAUs是3.02亿。除了广告，快手还有直播电商、游戏、虚拟物品赠送等收入来源。快手号称拥有全球最多的虚拟物品赠送付费用户。
“ASML中国总裁：对向中国出口光刻机保持开放态度” (中文来源: 澎湃新闻）
我的想法: ASML中国总裁这篇采访态度和话语很官方，但还是值得关注的。ASML作为一家公司，当然希望随着中国半导体产业的发展，在中国做更多的生意，而不希望被视为有任何偏见。然而，它最先进的EUV设备 -- 想制造小到5纳米的先进芯片的必要设备 -- 正在等待荷兰政府的许可，才能被卖到中国。荷兰政府之前已经因为特朗普政府的压力，而干预了ASML去中国大陆的订单。即将新上任的拜登政府的外交姿态承诺的是，更多的联盟，更少的孤立。美国新政府的影响力是否会改变，以及如何改变，必将会对ASML在中国的业务有很大影响。