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Huawei: It’ll take not more than 300 years to overtake Google and Apple

It is almost a year since Huawei was added into an entity list by the US government. The communications giant which aimed to be the number 1 smartphone maker this year had faced a number of challenges especially when it comes to the mobile operating system. With the ongoing US restrictions, it is tough to sell smartphones globally without popular Google apps and services pre-installed.

In a recent interview with Dragon magazine, Huawei’s founder and CEO Ren Zhenfei shared that they will continue to use American components on its smartphones despite having other alternatives. Last year itself, Huawei had procured USD 18.7 billion (about RM81.56 billion) worth of parts from the US which is a significant increase from USD 11 billion previously.

He said that the US will always be their good friend, however, with the company on the entity list, American companies can only sell to Huawei if they are granted permission. When it comes to operating systems, Microsoft was granted a license by the US government to sell software including Windows to Huawei. It was also reported that Google had also attempted to request for an exemption but there are no further updates so far.

Consumer Business Group CEO, Richard Yu, has said that Huawei had the option not to use US components for its smartphones but they had continued to do so as they wanted to maintain good relationships with its American suppliers.

After the restrictions were announced last year, the Chinese smartphone maker had rushed to develop and procure alternatives that don’t rely on American technology. Huawei’s very own HarmonyOS was launched late last year but so far it is currently installed on a couple of Smart TVs for the Chinese market. When it comes to smartphones, the new devices are still running on Android but with Huawei Mobile Services that comes with its own Huawei AppGallery.

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Ren said that it would be OK if Huawei didn’t use US components, but what happens if consumers don’t buy their products? He said that the operating systems of Android and Apple have enjoyed massive sales in the world as consumers have become accustomed to them. He admitted that HarmonyOS was not developed to be a competitor but as a solution to being put on the entity list.

The founder also said that Huawei is a latecomer and it would be very difficult to surpass the operating systems of Android and Apple. He quipped it might take a long period of time, but not more than 300 years.

He shared that Huawei has enjoyed very friendly relationships with Google and Apple and their development of 5G smartphones was helpful. The company has said before that it will still prefer to use Google Mobile Services if the ban is lifted.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the trade war between the US and China, he said that it is impossible for any country to be totally self-sufficient. He said that it would be a mistake for countries to move industrial chains back home as the world economy is set up to develop through globalisation. He added that competitiveness evolves as part of globalisation.


Alexander Wong