Huawei was about to overtake Samsung as the top seller of smartphones this year, when the company was put on the trade blacklist by the US government due to national security concerns. The restriction bars US companies from selling to Huawei unless they obtain a license to do so.
As a result, Huawei’s overseas market share is shrinking, as customers outside of China become wary of buying a phone that may not have access to the Google Play Store and Google apps.
In an interview with CNN, Ren Zhengfei decided to break the silence and address the issue implying that the the US has treated Huawei unfairly.
“The whole world is currently talking about cyber security. How has Huawei become the only target? Are Ericsson, Cisco, and Nokia free of cyber security issues?” Ren said and explained that American cyber security will have flaws regardless of the presence of Huawei. “There is virtually no Huawei equipment deployed in the US. Does this mean the US has no security issues?”
American experts and lawmakers fear what it might mean if Huawei supplies 5G technology to US markets when it has frequently been accused of communication—if not coordination—with the Chinese government.
Ren explained that the Chinese government officially stated that they always require Chinese firms to abide by international rules, laws and regulations of the country where they operate, and that China has no law requiring companies to install backdoors or collect foreign intelligence.
The Chinese government has also made it clear that it will never require companies to share their data. In fact, the government has said that they would be willing to sign no-backdoor and no-spy agreements if western countries have security doubts. Ren also said that if a situation where the government asked to access user data would occur, he would rather close down the company.
Regardless of this setback, Ren seems hopeful about the future of Huawei and says he still hopes to be able to provide services to the American people and to work more closely with US companies to contribute to the information society. As for the financial blow Huawei has faced as their global market share reduces, Ren does not seem worried. “Our sales revenue grew by 35.8% year-on-year in January and February 2019. In fact, we think we will see very strong growth this year, and may even need to take steps to control that growth.”
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