Jan 22: Microsoft Corp’s chief executive officer said he worries that mistrust between the US and China will increase technology costs and hurt economic growth at a critical time.
Using the $470 billion semiconductor industry as an example of a sector that is already globally interconnected, Satya Nadella said the two countries will have to find ways to work together, rather than creating different supply chains for each country.
“All you are doing is increasing transaction costs for everybody if you completely separate,” Nadella said in an interview with Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait at Bloomberg’s The Year Ahead conference in Davos. That’s a concern as the executive said the world is on the cusp of a revolution around technology and artificial intelligence.
“If we take steps back in trust or increase transaction costs around technology, all we are doing is sacrificing global economic growth,” he said.
The agreement signed last week between the US and China was “not sufficient,” said Nadella, but represented “progress” on the issue of intellectual property protections for US technology companies working with China.
Nadella said he worries about the development of two separate internets, noting that to some degree they already exist “and they will get amplified in the future” with massive technology companies already in place in China.
The viewpoint clashes with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who has been sceptical about the idea that ongoing US-China trade tensions could ever lead to a bifurcated system of two internets.
China and the US are the two leading AI superpowers, however the cooling political relations between them have slowed the international collaboration.
Nadella also warned that countries that fail to attract immigrants will lose out as the global tech industry continues to grow. The CEO has previously voiced concern about India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, calling it “sad.”
“However, Nadella said he remained hopeful.
“The fact that there is a 70-year history of nation-building, I think it’s a very strong foundation. I grew up in that country. I’m proud of that heritage. I’m influenced by that experience.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella fears US-China mistrust will hurt global growth