Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei told Chinese media on Tuesday that the company is “fully prepared” for a clash with the US, which he considers inevitable as the company works towards becoming a global tech leader.
“We sacrificed [the interests of] individuals and families for the sake of an ideal, to stand at the top of the world,” Ren said in an interview with Chinese state media. According to Business Inside
“For this ideal, there will be conflict with the United States sooner or later.”
The US has ramped up action against Huawei – the world’s largest telecommunications equipment producer – over concerns that its technology may be used as a backdoor for spying by the Chinese government. Huawei has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Friction between the Trump administration and Huawei heightened last week, after the US Department of Commerce added Huawei to a trade blacklist, which prevents the company from buying parts and components from American companies without US government approval. The move could have a dramatic effect on Huawei’s operations, as the company relies heavily on US parts.
Google responded to the ban by reportedly suspending its business with Huawei and dropping its licensing on Android, which prevents users from receiving critical updates. Other US tech suppliers – like Intel and Qualcomm, which provide crucial software and parts to Huawei phones and tablets – have also reportedly cut ties with the Chinese company.
On Monday, the US Commerce Department announced it would loosen restrictions on Huawei for 90 days, which would allow the Chinese telecommunications giant to temporarily maintain existing networks and provide software updates on its current smartphones.
But Ren said on Tuesday the reprieve had “little meaning” for Huawei, as the company is already “fully prepared” for restrictions.
Huawei Technologies’ chip arm HiSilicon wrote in a memo on Friday that the company has been preparing for years in the event that the US were to impose restrictions on its ability to buy American-made chips and technology. “All our backup products are now being put to use our long-term efforts will ensure continuous product supply,” he said in the memo. The company has also reportedly been preparing ts own mobile operating system as a “Plan B” if Google were to ever completely sever ties.
Ren said that in the past, half of Huawei’s chips were US-made while the other half was developed by the company.
“We can make chips with the same quality as the US ones, but it does not mean we will not buy US chips,” Ren said. “We can’t be isolated from the world.”
He also expressed gratitude to American companies for their contribution to Huawei’s development, and said many of his consultants came from US companies like IBM.
Still, when asked how long tensions would persist, he pointed the finger at the Trump administration.
“Blame should be directed at US politicians, not companies,” Ren said.
But Huawei just caught a break, the US Commerce Department on Monday created a temporary general license restoring Huawei’s ability to maintain existing networks and provide software updates to existing Huawei handsets.
The license, which was posted for public inspection, scales back the restrictions imposed by the US government last week on Huawei’s buying US goods in order to help existing customers. The temporary license lasts until August 19.
Potential beneficiaries of the temporary license could include internet access and mobile phone service providers in thinly populated places such as Wyoming and eastern Oregon that purchased network equipment from Huawei in recent years.
However, the “temporary general license” will allow Huawei to provide software updates and maintain existing cell networks for those in the US who use Huawei smartphones.
Since the blacklist went into place, major US tech companies and suppliers have reportedly cut off critical software and parts to Huawei “until further notice.”
Editor: J Ping