On May 21, Huawei’s founder and CEO, Ren Zhengfei accepted media interviews in Shenzhen regarding the recent issues that are affecting the company, namely crippling U.S. restrictions that, while unlikely, can threaten to slow down the company’s growth significantly.
His comments present a bold front for the company, one which has high hopes that the situation between the U.S., China and Huawei will improve but also one of measured confidence in that whatever happens, Huawei will persevere and continue to have its doors open for collaboration.
“The most important thing is to make sure our job is properly done“
For now, Ren Zhengfei says his company needs to focus and continue on its current plan and maintain its momentum to become one of the largest mobile device manufacturers in the world.
Huawei has been given a 90-day reprieve on the U.S. restrictions that allow the company to complete any pending commitments it may have with its customers and suppliers in preparation for the ban to come into full effect.
Ren Zhengfei said that during this period, the most important thing for the company is to make sure that their job is properly done.
He added, what the U.S. government does is not something that Huawei has any control over.
Huawei will not isolate itself from the world
Many of Huawei’s technology runs on microchips and processors designed and developed by American companies. Huawei’s top man doesn’t deny that and he stressed that Huawei would like to continue to collaborate with these company for the common development of semiconductor technology even if, he claims, Huawei’s in house microchips and processors are cheaper for the company to make.
He said Huawei possess the know-how and capabilities to produce chips that are on par with its American partners, but this does not mean that Huawei will not buy chips developed in the U.S. in the name of collaboration and mutual progress. He added that Huawei will not isolate itself from the world.
“In the future, we still have to buy U.S. chips on a large scale, as long as they have a license to sell. But if there is a shortage of supply, then we will have a backup,” he said.
Ahead of the rest in 5G
Huawei is the world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier and is a leader in 5G technology. In his interview with the press in Shenzen, Ren ZhengFei is naturally, confident that Huawei will continue to dominate in 5G and that the company’s development in the technology will not be affected by the restrictions imposed by the U.S.
However, he conceded that Huawei has a lot to learn from the U.S. when it comes to technology especially in terms of its depth in expertise. But in 5G, Ren ZhengFei says Huawei is at the forefront.
He added that Huawei has strong partnerships with European operators, “European companies cooperate with us very closely. Their 5G capacity is 20 times that of 4G, and 10,000 times that of 2G, thus power consumption is reduced 10 times, and volume is reduced by 70%. We have materials that will not corrode for decades, these characteristics are very suitable for Europe.”
Buy Huawei because of its products not because of China
Huawei has become stuck in the middle of an ever-escalating trade war between the U.S. and China. While it is easy to take sides based on a nationalist agenda, Ren ZhengFei is quick to clarify that it’s not about which country you support.
He added that there are currently two main attitudes towards Huawei: some bolster the company as an extension of their patriotism, while others see Huawei as taking advantage of the Chinese people’s heightened sense of national pride by getting them to rally behind the brand.
He urged against inciting nationalist sentiments, arguing that buying Huawei products should not simply be tied to patriotism.
Fully prepared for a conflict with the U.S.
When asked about the challenges of making its own processors, Ren Zhengfei said it is no easy to develop a processor but the company has been doing for so many years that it has become competent at the task.
The company has been working on its own microprocessors since 28 years ago. When asked how Huawei would continue to develop its microprocessor and to a greater extent, its mobile business, Ren Zhengfei’s response was pragmatic.
“At the highest point, we have conflicts with the United States, but in the end, we still have to contribute to humanity together,” he said.
He added that the company is “fully prepared” for a conflict with the U.S.
Annually, Huawei pays close to US$20 billion in taxes to the U.S. The company also spends nearly US$20 billion in R&D annually in its pursuit to become a global leader in 5G technology.
Should the restrictions come into full effect, the U.S. stand to lose out more than what they can potentially gain.
For now, Ren Zhengfei stressed that Huawei’s number one priority is to serve its customers.