Huawei founder says US ‘underestimates’ his telecom giant’s strength

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei on Tuesday downplayed the impact of the US executive order against his firm, saying Washington “underestimates” the telecom giant’s strength

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei (People’s Daily, China)
Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei (People’s Daily, China)


Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei on Tuesday downplayed the impact of the US executive order against his firm, saying Washington "underestimates" the telecom giant's strength and other countries would take two to three years to catch-up with it in the next-generation 5G technology.

The Trump administration officials have issued a 90-day reprieve on their ban on dealing with Huawei, saying breathing space was needed to allow for software updates and other contractual obligations.

US Commerce Department said that the delay does not change the ban imposed by President Donald Trump on Huawei, a move which will have a major implication for American and Chinese technology firms.

Speaking to state-run China Central Television, Ren, whose daughter and CFO of Huawei Meng Wanzhou has been arrested in Canada to face prosecution for violations of American sanctions against Iran, expressed his resentment over the ban.

"The current practice of US politicians underestimates our strength," Ren said.

"Huawei's 5G will absolutely not be affected. In terms of 5G technologies, others won't be able to catch up with Huawei in two or three years," he said.

"The US 90-day temporary licence does not have much impact on us, we are ready," Ren said.

But at the same he admitted that half of chips used in Huawei equipment come from the US and the other half are made by the Chinese company.

"We cannot be isolated from the world. We can also make the same chips as the US chips, but it doesn't mean we won't buy them," he added.

Though rapidly expanding to become leader in 5G, Huawei is dependent on foreign suppliers.

According to estimates, Huawei buys about $67 billion worth of components each year, including about $11 billion from US suppliers.

Commenting on the development, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told the media on Tuesday that "the US is using national means to oppress and smear certain Chinese company".

"This will serve no one's interest in the end. In international relations while doing trade we must follow the principle of equality and mutual benefit. We will defend our companies' legitimate rights and interests," he said.

Though Ren has put up a brave front, concerns mounted for Huawei as Google has barred the telecom giant from some updates to the Android operating system which could deal a big blow to it.

The new designs of Huawei smartphones are set to lose access to some Google apps, a BBC report said.

Google said it was "complying with the order and reviewing the implications".

Huawei said it would continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and honour smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold or are still in stock globally.

"We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally," it added.

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