The ongoing US and China Trade War has been keeping Huawei in a perpetual state of emergency ever since the US placed it on its Entity List.
Since then Google was forced to withdraw Huawei's license to Android (and has since overturned the decision for up to 90 days) and the number two smartphone maker in the World has seen many of its major partners back away because of US pressure. We have a detailed timeline of events if you want to catch up.
Huawei has issued statements on a number of the issues over the past week and a half but today we have the official two cents of Huawei's founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei in the form of answers to questions from a number of media outlets.
On Television: the US issued a temporary license to Huawei. In other words, its restrictions on Huawei can be lifted in the following 90 days. What's your view on this license? What could you do in these 90 days? If the news is true and the US cancelled the imposed restrictions after 90 days, how would you comment on such a reversal?
Ren Zhengfei: I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the US companies that we work with. Over these 30 years, they have helped us to grow into what we are today. They have made many contributions to us. We also have been receiving support from a large number of US component and part manufacturers over all these years. In the face of the recent crisis, I can feel these companies' sense of justice and sympathy towards us.
The US has added Huawei to the Entity List. That is to say if a US company wants to sell something to Huawei, it needs to obtain approval from the US government. The US is a country ruled by law. US companies must abide by the laws, and so must the real economy. So let’s should not always blame US companies. The blame should rest with some US politicians. We should understand that these US companies and Huawei share the same fate. We are both players in the market economy.
People's Daily: I want to ask a question about chips. I noticed that you said in an interview with Japanese media on May 18 that "Huawei does not need chips from the US. There is no problem with Huawei." In a letter to your employees, you mentioned that Huawei has strengths and has made preparations. Can I ask where your strengths come from and what you have done to prepare?
Ren Zhengfei: We are always in need of US chips. Our US partners are fulfilling their responsibilities and asking for approval from Washington. If this approval is granted, we will still buy chips from these suppliers. We may even sell chips to US companies (to help the US make more advanced products).
Xinhua News Agency: Do you think the international market has been disrupted?
Ren Zhengfei: I don't think so. Europe will not follow in the footsteps of the US, and the majority of US companies are communicating closely with us.
The Paper: Other Huawei executives have stated that Huawei is able to continue serving customers. Will the US ban affect your major customers and business? How will you respond?
Ren Zhengfei: Our growth will slow down, though not by as much as everyone imagines. In the first quarter of this year, our revenue grew 39% over the same period last year. This rate decreased to 25% in April, and may continue decreasing towards the end of this year. But the US ban will not lead to negative growth or harm the development of our industry.
Science and Technology Daily: If the US cuts off the supply chain, how will the industry be impacted? Two days ago, I saw that Fang Zhouzi (an Internet celebrity) tweeted "If the spare tire is good, why not use it before a blowout?" (referring to Huawei's backup OS development) What's your opinion on it?
Ren Zhengfei: If we use spare tires in all our products, that means we are seeking the so-called "independent innovation". The main purpose of independent innovation is to become a dominant player. But we want to have partners all over the world. For that reason, his idea of using the spare tire before a blowout is not on our minds.
Science and Technology Daily: How will the industry be impacted if the US does cut off the supply chain?
Ren Zhengfei: Our company will not end up with an extreme supply shortage. We have got well prepared. At the beginning of this year, I predicted that something like this would occur two years later, and that the US would not take action before the US lawsuit against us was settled in court. We were quite sure that they would take action against us whatever the result was. We thought we would have two years to make preparations. But when Meng Wanzhou was arrested, it sparked everything off.
We'll continue to cover the situation as it unfolds.