The US government has been growing increasingly critical (perhaps even paranoid) when it comes to the operation of Chinese companies in the US. Between the on-again-off-again ZTE snafu and Huawei's allegedly government-influenced issues with its US carrier deals, Chinese tech companies are running into progressively more problems doing business in the United States. This is just the start, though, as according to a recent report by Bloomberg, the FCC is set to deny China Mobile's application to provide telecommunications services in the US.
According to Bloomberg, China Mobile—a state-backed Chinese company—sought to "offer international voice traffic between the U.S. and foreign countries." We're not sure if that means the company hoped to supply domestic telecommunications service in a consumer-facing way, or if it merely expected to provide a network for US carriers to complete calls in other markets, though Bloomberg's report does state "the carrier indicated it didn’t intend to offer mobile service within the U.S."
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) July 3, 2018
Regardless of how it planned on offering its services, the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) states China Mobile's entry to the market "would pose unacceptable national security and law enforcement risks," and the FCC is allegedly set to deny its application.
The news comes just after the US stated an intention to impose additional tariffs on Chinese products, with further threats of additional taxes on up to $200 billion in Chinese imports in the event the country attempts retaliation as part of the ongoing trade war.
For some perspective, China Mobile is the largest carrier in the world, with almost 900 million subscribers. News of the alleged application denial may have been a contributing factor for recent dips in the company's stock price (NYSE: CHL, now resting -1.1% @ $43.96, at the time of writing).
The entrance and operation of Chinese businesses in the United States is a very tender political subject these days. In the case of ZTE, there is unarguably self-admitted wrongdoing on the part of the company, but it's hard not to look at less substantiated arguments with some concern, especially given that an increase in competition—always a benefit to the public, though perhaps not to the influential domestic brands dominating the market—is at risk.
Those could be giants on the horizon or just Chinese-made windmills, it's tough to tell from here.