Back immigration or risk missing out on tech boom: Microsoft CEO Nadella

If we take steps back in trust or increase transaction costs around technology, all we are doing is sacrificing global economic growth: Satya Nadella
Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella 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, 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 Trump administration is considering steps to further limit the ability of US companies to supply Huawei Technologies, China’s flagship tech company, in addition to pressuring countries around the world to avoid using its equipment for 5G mobile networks.The agreement signed last week between the US and China was “not sufficient,” said Nadella.           


Yet, he represented “progress” on the issue of intellectual property protections for US technology companies working with China.

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, which bans undocumented Muslim migrants from neighboring countries from seeking citizenship in India while allowing immigrants from other religions to do so, calling it “sad.”

“Every country is rethinking what is in their national interest,” he said. Governments need to “maintain that modicum of enlightenment and not think about it very narrowly,” Nadella said, adding that “people will only come when people know you’re an immigrant friendly country.“


However, Nadella said he remained hopeful. “I’m an India optimist,” he said. “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.”


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