Huawei founder: US government 'underestimated our power'
The growing animosity between Huawei Technologies and the U.S. government was inevitable and a sales ban imposed by the Trump administration will have no effect on the firm’s plans, according to the founder of the Chinese telecommunications giant.
Speaking to Chinese state media on Tuesday, Ren Zhengfei said there would be “conflict with the United States sooner or later” as Huawei seeks to grow its dominance in the global telecom industry.
“We sacrificed [the interests of] individuals and families for the sake of an ideal, to stand at the top of the world,” he said according to a report in the South China Morning Post.
The White House last week announced an executive order to prevent U.S. companies from doing business with foreign telecom firms that pose a national security risk. While the action was company and country-agnostic, Huawei is the largest firm set to be impacted.
After the order, the Commerce Department also placed the company on a “black list” that prevents U.S. businesses from selling to Huawei without federal approval, which experts say is unlikely.
On Monday, the agency said it would permit some limited transactions for 90 days to allow American firms to “make other arrangements,” Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.
While large domestic telecom firms like AT&T and Verizon Wireless have vowed not to use Huawei equipment in the development of pending fifth-generation wireless networks, rural carriers still rely on its low-cost equipment.
Zhengfei said the ban would have no impact on Huawei’s 5G strategy and expects it to have a two-to-three-year advantage on competitors.
“The current actions by American politicians underestimated our power,” he told Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
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Following the actions from the Trump administration, a number of companies took immediate steps to limit their relationship with the Chinese firm. Google, for example, said it would restrict access to popular applications on Huawei smartphones, a decision that was reversed after the White House’s 90-day reprieve.
Chipmakers like Intel and Qualcomm Inc. also reportedly suspended shipments to Huawei. While the company develops some of its own chips, it relies on U.S. firms for other parts.
Spokespersons for Qualcomm and Intel did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Huawei CEO Richard Yu on wrote on Tuesday on popular Chinese messaging app WeChat that the company would roll out its own operating system in 2020, a move that would reduce the reliance on U.S. companies.
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Federal officials and U.S. lawmakers have long charged that Huawei is closely aligned with the Chinese government and effectively acts as a conduit for espionage for the Asian nation around the globe.
The Trump administration has attempted to pressure some U.S. allies to also restrict the use of Huawei equipment in pending 5G networks. Following the ban, however, countries like Germany signaled they are unlikely to pursue any new actions against the company.