While the NSA kills Silicon Valley, Asian startups should gear up



These days, we read about the latest reports from Edward Snowden but they’re old hat now. We all know the American government is spying on everyone. But as more leaks come out, it’s increasingly evident that the NSA’s nefarious behavior will leave a deep scar on Silicon Valley.

Snowden whistleblowing and escaping from the NSA could be one of the most important boons for Asian tech companies and startups in the next decade. If, as Spiegel recently reported, the NSA has a backdoor into major US companies like Dell, Cisco, IBM, Western Digital, Seagate, and more, then Silicon Valley is screwed. No one will want to buy or open new contracts with Valley companies.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at how US spying jeopardized Boeing’s contract in Brazil. The Washington Post estimates that NSA snooping could cost US tech companies up to $35 billion. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg as the $35 billion estimate is only for cloud computing.

And even more close to home for Asia is the drop in sales of major corporations like Cisco and IBM. Cisco lost $1.7 billion in sales in Asia Pacific. IBM saw a 15 percent drop from August to October.

It’s now safe to assume that American tech products are compromised. The entire foundation of the internet, built on silicon, servers, hardware, and software of Silicon Valley, is suspect. If I’m a major corporation that has sensitive corporate information, there is no way I want the US government spying on it. This presents a huge opportunity for tech companies across the world that want to secure major B2B contracts as well as customers.

And the truth is, that trend is arriving in Asia. Huawei, equipped with its megalithic telecom, server, and hardware resources is poised to tackle the new opportunities. Ironically, it was just a few years ago that everyone looked upon China and companies like Huawei as unsafe. Is this still going to be the case going forward? In a few years time, we’re going to see the slow erosion of tech contracts migrating away from the USA and into Europe, Asia, and South America. It’s the tech companies that can guarantee security and quality in the face of the flight from the Valley. Are you ready?

(Edited by Terence Lee)

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