5G is the centerpiece of China's ambition to lead technology for the globe, according to Anthony Glees, director of the Center for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham. He said China has the ability to "weaponize" technology like 5G.
"They seek to maximize the opportunities they have for expanding their influence in the world and underpinning their global position and power," he said in a telephone interview on Thursday .
The US has responded with an aggressive campaign to block Huawei in its own borders and to lobby traditional allies against it too. Australia banned Huawei's 5G equipment, Japan effectively did the same, and countries in Europe are evaluating potential security threats.
Regardless, China is off to a strong start in the 5G race.
China came out of the initial blocks, according to Bill Lawrence, a lawyer focused on wireless telecommunications at U.S. firm Burr & Forman
"At the end of the day, the U.S. is trying to outpace China for the lead," he said.