In his words: Huawei CEO says company will not be crushed

Photo: AFP

Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said that U.S. restrictions on access to technology would not defeat the Chinese telecom equipment maker and that the United States and Australia should hold off on buying Huawei's 5G network gear if they fear it is a security risk.

The U.S. has put Huawei Technologies Ltd. on its entity list, restricting American companies from supplying it, though it granted a second 90-day reprieve Monday. It also has asked Canada to hold Ren's daughter, a Huawei executive, to face U.S. charges.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, the 74-year-old Ren said he doesn't want relief for his company or his daughter to be linked to the U.S.-China trade dispute, as President Donald Trump has suggested.

Here are some key points that Ren made in the interview:

HUAWEI WILL NOT BE CRUSHED

"The entity list will not crush us as the U.S. hopes. By adding Huawei to the entity list, the U.S. wanted to kill off Huawei. But we are not dead; in fact, we are doing even better than before. ... The entity list has not affected us as much as it has affected our U.S. partners. They used to supply us with billions of dollars' worth of components and were suddenly not allowed to do so. Their short-term financial results will surely be significantly impacted and their losses will be felt.

After all, stock prices matter a lot to Wall Street."

5G DOESN'T NEED AMERICAN HELP

"Whether the (deadline for enforcing the) entity list is extended or not, that will not have a substantial impact on Huawei's business, because if you look at connectivity products, such as 5G or core products, we can do well without relying on American companies."

"The biggest impact of the entity list would be on our consumer business. There are billions of Android system users around the world. Banning Huawei from using this system will not ensure America's national security. If the U.S. still wants to ban us from Android, we may need to work on our own backup plan."

NO TO RELIEF FOR TRADE DEAL

"Many people in China still are very poor. I couldn't take it if those poor people sacrificed their own interests for the benefit of Huawei."

"I am not approaching this issue purely from my family's perspective. But we are not asking for a favor from the government to allow the United States to go easier on Huawei. If this whole thing continues, Huawei might grow more slowly and (my daughter) Meng Wanzhou might have to stay in Canada and suffer more. But I would rather take that instead of having the Chinese people, most of whom are poorer than we are, sacrifice for Huawei."

ENTITY LIST DESIGNATION TO STAY

"We think the U.S. government's entity list cannot possibly be revoked, because it isn't possible that someone from the United States will step up to revoke the entity list designation. Right now, attacking Huawei in the United States is politically correct, while helping Huawei even once would put (that person) under significant pressure. So to us, the entity list will be there for quite some time."

SECURITY RISK FEARS

"If people in the United States say your 5G technology poses a national security threat to the United States, then I am open to the possibility of a paid transfer of 5G technology and production techniques to U.S. companies so they can build upon it and develop 6G to speed up their own development."

If the U.S. and Australia "still have security concerns, I think they had best not buy Huawei's 5G or related products. Let other countries first use Huawei's systems and technologies, test it to see whether it is secure or there are security threats first. To me personally, 5G is just a tool in support of future widespread artificial intelligence adoption. So the tool itself is not the most important part when we talk about security."

U.S. PRESSURE MADE HUAWEI MORE FOCUSED

"At a strategic level, the U.S. entity list is helpful to Huawei, because there are some marginal, unimportant businesses or products in our portfolio. Now, with the pressure coming from the United States, we cut off those products or businesses and take the resources to work on major products."

HUAWEI LIKES AMERICAN TECHNOLOGY

"We hope we can and we will continue to be able to buy American components. Even though we may have the ability to turn out our own components or products, we would choose to reduce our own capacity so as to use more American components in order to contribute together to share the prosperity of society."

Huawei dismisses new suspension of 'unjust' US ban

Huawei on Tuesday dismissed Washington's three-month delay to a ban on US firms selling to the Chinese tech giant and said the decision would not change the fact it had been "treated unjustly".

The US Commerce Department effectively suspended for a second time tough rules stopping the sale of components and services to the telecoms titan and a prohibition on buying equipment from it.

However, it also said it would add 46 more companies to its list of Huawei subsidiaries and affiliates that would be covered by the ban if it is implemented in full - taking the total on the list to more than 100.

The original ban was announced earlier this year by US authorities who claim it provides a backdoor for Chinese intelligence services - something the firm denies.

"It's clear that this decision, made at this particular time, is politically motivated and has nothing to do with national security," Huawei responded in a statement, adding that the actions "violate the basic principles of free market competition."

"They are in no one's interests, including US companies. Attempts to suppress Huawei's business won't help the United States achieve technological leadership" Huawei said.

"The extension of the Temporary General License does not change the fact that Huawei has been treated unjustly."

Monday's move means Huawei can continue to buy US-made semiconductors and other materials crucial to its phones and network equipment, and that US telecommunications companies can continue to buy Huawei's networking equipment.

Huawei - considered the world leader in superfast 5G equipment and the world's number two smartphone producer - was in May swept into a deepening trade war between Beijing and Washington, which has seen punitive tariffs slapped on hundreds of billions of dollars of two-way trade.

The suspension of the ban does not signal a change in US concerns that Huawei equipment poses a national security threat or lift a general prohibition on the use of its 5G systems in the United States.

"As we continue to urge consumers to transition away from Huawei's products, we recognise that more time is necessary to prevent any disruption," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Huawei unveiled its own operating system called HarmonyOS, highly anticipated software considered crucial for the tech group's survival as the looming ban could remove its access to Google's Android operating system.

US gives Huawei 90 day reprieve on ban

Chinese telecom giant Huawei has been given a 90-day reprieve on the ban from buying US technology, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday.

"There's another 90 days for the US telecom companies, some of the rural companies are dependent on Huawei," Ross said on Fox Business Network. "We are giving them more time to wean themselves off."

The new deadline for implementing the ban is November 19, he said.

The ban is part of a sweeping effort by President Donald Trump's administration to restrict Huawei, which officials claim has links to Chinese intelligence that makes it a security threat.

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