Huawei founder says US ‘cannot crush’ Chinese tech giant

Attendees at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Attendees at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei has said there is “no way the US can crush” the Chinese tech giant in its continuing stand-off with the United States.

The company founder said Huawei’s technological innovation meant it was now a key player in the industry and as a result would not be cut out of the tech sector.

“There’s no way the US can crush us,” he told the BBC.

“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.”

Huawei has been the subject of continuing security concerns over allegations of close ties with the Chinese government – something it has always denied – with the US leading calls for it to be cut off from vital telecoms infrastructure to protect data on those networks.

However, Mr Ren said the firm would “never” take part in any spying work.

“The Chinese government has already clearly said that it won’t install any backdoors. And we won’t install backdoors either,” he said.

“We’re not going to risk the disgust of our country and of our customers all over the world, because of something like this.

Huawei’s UK headquarters in Reading, Berkshire (Steve Parsons/PA)

“Our company will never undertake any spying activities. If we have any such actions, then I’ll shut the company down.”

Mr Ren did acknowledge that there was a Communist Party committee within Huawei, but said it was something all companies operating in China – both domestic and foreign – needed in order to comply with Chinese law.

Mr Ren also suggested the US was only a small part of its business and that it could survive without a large presence there.

“If the lights go out in the West, the East will still shine. And if the North goes dark, there is still the South. America doesn’t represent the world. America only represents a portion of the world,” he said.

Huawei’s boss has insisted that the US cannot crush the tech giant (Steve Parsons/PA)

Huawei became the second largest smartphone maker in the world – overtaking Apple – last year.

The company also remains under scrutiny in the UK, but Mr Ren said that would not affect its position in this country.

“We still trust in the UK, and we hope that the UK will trust us even more,” he said.

“We will invest even more in the UK. Because if the US doesn’t trust us, then we will shift our investment from the US to the UK on an even bigger scale.”

The company founder also accused the US of political motivation in its arrest of his daughter – and Huawei’s chief financial officer – Meng Wanzhou in Canada last year.

She was arrested at the request of the US and is facing a range of charges – along with the company as a whole – on alleged breaches in trade sanctions linked to Iran and the attempted theft of trade secrets.

“Firstly, I object to what the US has done. This kind of politically motivated act is not acceptable,” Mr Ren said.

“The US likes to sanction others, whenever there’s an issue, they’ll use such combative methods.

“We object to this. But now that we’ve gone down this path, we’ll let the courts settle it.”

Last week, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo appeared to put pressure on other nations to move away from Huawei, suggesting the US would find it more difficult to work with countries that chose to use Huawei products.

The Chinese firm is one of the key companies in the development of 5G, the next generation of mobile communications which is expected to significantly increase the speed and amount of data that can be sent over telecoms networks in years to come.

Eric Xu, one of Huawei’s three rotating chairmen, said in response to Mr Pompeo that the US was targeting Huawei in an attempt to stop its rise as an industry leader.

“When we look at major equipment providers for 5G, you have Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei, Samsung and ZTE – as you can see, there is no American company here,” he said.


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