PM Johnson mulling ‘state investment’ into domestic telecoms companies

Boris Johnson is under intense pressure to make a number of key China-related decisions all of which will have long-term consequences

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is planning to extend significant support to the UK’s domestic telecommunications companies as part of a more muscular foreign policy.

The Times is reporting that the PM is “examining options” to boost “state investment” into British telecoms companies to help them “compete in the 5G technology market”.

This comes in the wake of reports that Johnson has caved into pressure by the anti-China faction in the ruling Tory party to effectively cancel Huawei’s role in the development of Britain’s 5G network.

The Times article makes a direct connection between the decision to boost funding for domestic telecoms companies and the need to “reduce Britain’s reliance on [the Chinese technology giant] Huawei” for the country’s “next-generation mobile network”.

 According to the Times, the decision to boost the domestic telecoms sector is also part of a plan to “create a new democratic alliance” configured to “pioneer a wider selection of future technologies”.

The UK has reportedly approached the US, South Korea and India (amongst other states) to persuade them to join this new technology alliance which will be explicitly configured to counter Chinese technology and innovation.

This latest decision comes on the heels of a flurry of news and reporting suggesting that the UK is considering a strategic shift in its relations with the People’s Republic of China.

But the pioneering aspect of the latest proposal, coupled with the news Britain is actively lobbying allied and friendly states to join a new technology “club”, suggests that the UK is keen to take a lead role in the containment of an increasingly confident and strident China.


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