On the morning of May 21, Ren Zhengfei, CEO of Huawei, gave an exclusive interview to CCTV at the Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen, during which he articulated his opinion on Huawei’s ongoing conflicts with the U.S. and opened up about issues related to the future of 5G and even his family. Here are our main take-outs from the conversation.
During the interview, Ren Zhengfei bluntly confessed that his family is still quite fond of Apple products, and insisted that it is narrow-minded to think that loving Huawei means using only Huawei’s phones.
Mr. Ren suggested that there are two kinds of public sentiments towards Huawei: some support Huawei out of mere patriotism, but others think that Huawei is exploiting the patriotic sentiment of the whole Chinese society. Richard Yu (CEO of Huawei’s smartphone line) claims that the boss never gives inspiring propaganda speeches for the company’s employees. “We do everything to stop slogan-shouting and inciting national sentiments”, he said.
According to Ren, Huawei is not planning to narrow-mindedly disregard US-made chips. “We will grow together, but in times of difficulties in supplies, we have backup plans”, he told journalists.
Ms.He Tingbo, CEO of Hisilicon Semiconductor, a chip company under Huawei, recently said in an internal letter for the employees that Hisilicon is launching the “prepared tires” program to help Huawei stay afloat. Today, Ren Zhengfei commented on it for the first time, saying that the company still purchases 50 million sets of chips from Qualcomm every year and that it has never rejected and resisted chips from America.
“The US temporary ’90-day license’ doesn’t mean much to us. We are fully prepared, but we are very grateful to American companies. They have made a lot of contributions to us. Many of our consultants come from IBM and other American firms”, remarked Ren.
“Huawei’s 5G is definitely not affected. In terms of 5G technology, others will definitely not be able to catch up with Huawei for the next two or three years”, Ren declared confidently, when asked about the prospects for Huawei’s 5G technology.
“5G is 20 times the speed of 4G, and 10,000 times the speed of 2G, with power consumption reduced by 10 times, and volume reduced by 70%. We have materials that will not corrode for decades, and these characteristics seem to work well for Europe. We have close contacts with Europe.”
About the Crisis
When talking about the current trade crisis, he said, “ to dominate the world, one needs to compete with the ruler of the world; if you always get beaten, the sense of a crisis will not go away.”
“We sacrificed individuals and families. We did this for an ideal, that is to stand on the top of the world, and this ideal, would definitely sooner or later result in conflicts with the United States”, continued Ren.
The CEO of Huawei stated that his company is indeed affected by this situation, but he believes it could also stimulate a more down-to-earth approach towards the development of the electronics industry in China. “Our strategy in the past was to make huge investments, but it doesn’t really work in the chip industry. We need mathematicians, physicists, and so on. But how many people are still studying hard? I am afraid that it is impossible to rely solely on one country. Although China has a lot of talent, we still need talent from all over the world.”
Ren also did not shy away from talking about his kids. “I feel sorry for my kids. I was too busy when I started this company, and barely had any time to talk with them. When I was young, the company was struggling to survive. There were times when I would hardly talk to them for months. I owe them so much”, confessed Ren. He continued, “They set very high standards for themselves. They work really hard. For example, my younger daughter used to practice dancing for 15 hours every week when she was little. She would do her homework until 2 a.m. or even 4 or 5 a.m. in the morning when she was in college.”
Featured photo credit to CGTN