Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei says US cannot crush company

19 Feb 2019166 Views

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Huawei building. Image: Erix2005/Depositphotos.com

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Huawei founder says US efforts are politically motivated.

“There’s no way the US can crush us,” said Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, in response to an onslaught of US criminal charges against the company and the arrest of his daughter, Meng Wanzhou, in Canada.

Huawei, which is one of the biggest telecoms equipment manufacturers in the world, is facing a crisis whereby US-led efforts to ban the use of its equipment on alleged spying charges are affecting its international business.

‘If the lights go out in the west, the east will still shine. And if the north goes dark, then there is still the south. America doesn’t represent the world. America only represents a portion of the world’
– REN ZHENGFEI

As well as this, the US is pursuing criminal charges against the company alleging money laundering, bank fraud and the stealing of trade secrets.

In December, the founder’s daughter and Huawei CFO Wanzhou was arrested in Canada over allegations that a company owned by Huawei had defied a US trade embargo against Iran. The arrest occurred as tensions over a trade war between China and the US increased.

Last month, we reported that the United States filed 23 charges against Huawei and Meng Wanzhou.

Defiance

In an interview with the BBC, Huawei founder Zhengfei described the arrest of his daughter as politically motivated.

“There is no way the US can crush us,” Zhengfei said. “The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced. Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit.

“If the lights go out in the west, the east will still shine. And if the north goes dark, then there is still the south. America doesn’t represent the world. America only represents a portion of the world.”

Either way, the US and its Five Eyes allies’ censure has got to hurt. Australia, New Zealand and the US have already banned or blocked Huawei from supplying equipment for their future 5G broadband networks, while Canada is reviewing the situation.

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned America’s allies against using Huawei technology, stating it would make it more difficult for Washington to partner alongside them.

However, it appears that some countries may not be entirely buying the US argument. Yesterday (18 February), we reported how the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre indicated that any security risk posed by using Huawei can be managed through supervised testing. Germany’s Deutsche Telekom and Ireland’s Eir have also both stated that they are sticking with Huawei.

New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Arden also said yesterday that her country will conduct its own assessment of Huawei equipment.

Latest corporate espionage allegations

But just as more countries take a less reactive approach to allegations of state spying, a new report by The Information sheds light on the allegations of Huawei stealing trade secrets.

Among the charges against Huawei is the alleged theft of robotic technology from T-Mobile US for testing smartphone durability.

The Information’s report suggests that Huawei engineers used “dubious tactics” to quiz Apple suppliers about parts for the Apple Watch and the MacBookPro.

In one instance, a connector very similar to the one that allows the MacBook’s hinge to be thinner while still attaching to the display of the logic board is alleged to have found its way into the MateBook Pro rival made by Huawei after engineers probed suppliers to have it made.

Other tactics alleged in The Information’s report include job interviews where former Apple workers were asked questions about Apple’s upcoming products, turning the meeting into more of an interrogation than an actual job interview.

Huawei building. Image: Erix2005/Depositphotos.com

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com