Huawei founder and CEO says his company does not need the U.S. in order to survive

Huawei founder and CEO says his company does not need the U.S. in order to survive
Huawei's placement on the U.S. Commerce Department's Entity List preventing it from accessing its U.S. based supply chain, was expected to be a crushing blow to the fast-growing Chinese manufacturer. And while there is no denying that the ban has had a small impact on the company's international sales, Huawei has benefited greatly from a renewed sense of patriotism in China as consumers there see Huawei as the victim of U.S. bullying. Last quarter, according to Canalys, the firm saw shipments of phones inside China rise an incredible 66% on an annual basis. That gave it 42.4% of the Chinese smartphone market, well ahead of Vivo's 17.9%.

When this year just started, Huawei had targeted shipments of 300 million handsets for all of 2019. That might have been enough for it to take the title of "world's largest smartphone manufacturer" away from Samsung. But Huawei revised its forecast and now hopes to ship 270 million units for the year, only 10% less than originally forecast prior to the ban. This year, the firm has delivered 200 million smartphones to date; in 2018, the company shipped a total of 206 million handsets. In other words, Huawei continues to grow smartly despite efforts from the U.S. to slow it down.

"We can survive very well without the U.S.," says Huawei's 75-year old founder and CEO


As the world's largest networking equipment manufacturer, Huawei has also been under attack by the U.S. as the Trump administration has asked allies not to use its gear to build out 5G networks. But as it turns out, the U.S. government has been unsuccessful in trying to get a stateside tech company to compete with Huawei in this business line. Both Oracle and Cisco told administration officials that it would take too much time and cost too much money to build an American challenger to Huawei in this segment of the networking market. A trial balloon was floated with an interesting idea; suppose U.S. companies licensed the Chinese outfit's intellectual property? In an interview published today by the Wall Street Journal, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said that he has yet to be approached by a U.S. company about this idea. Ren says that the offer is a sincere one and believes that U.S. firms, with Huawei's IP, could overtake Huawei itself in networking equipment after just three years.


The executive said in the interview that "We can survive very well without the U.S.," something that Huawei has proven. And unlike the head of his company's consumer group, Richard Yu, who believes that Huawei could be used as a bargaining chip by the U.S. during trade talks, Ren doesn't see Huawei being removed from the Entity List. "We don’t expect the U.S. to remove Huawei from the Entity List. They may as well keep us there forever because we'll be fine without them." Ren doesn't see Huawei as part of any U.S.-China trade negotiations because "we have virtually no business dealings in the U.S. There has been no confrontation with the U.S." To illustrate the latter statement, the company's founder says that if President Trump were to visit Huawei now or when he leaves office, "We would certainly give him a warm welcome."


Huawei was placed on the Entity List because the communist Chinese government is lawfully allowed in the country to demand that the company spy on its behalf. That has led to rumors about backdoors inside Huawei's devices and networking gear that are ready to send information to Beijing. The company and its executives have repeatedly denied these allegations and during the interview with the Journal, Ren did so again. He also reiterated a previous comment he made insisting that if asked to spy by the Chinese government, he would turn them down. And in response to a question about whether it was possible that some of the firm's 200,000 global employees could be spying, he responded, "We don’t allow for violations. If there were any employees that did such a thing, they would be severely punished." He also stated that his company has no access to the data that flows through its phones and equipment. "Just like automobile manufacturers, we only sell equipment," Ren said. "Carriers build pipes and ensure information flows smoothly through the pipes, while we produce the iron sheets on top of the pipes. What could we do with iron sheets?"

There is one U.S. company that Huawei wants to do business with again


Huawei is still buying some American components, says Ren, but is doing so through offshore factories owned by U.S. firms. And it also has received a couple of breaks recently when TSMC said that it would not give in to pressure from the Trump administration and stop manufacturing chips for Huawei, which is the foundry's second-largest customer after Apple. And U.K. chip designer ARM Holdings reversed a decision it made earlier in the year when it stopped shipping to the company because of some original American technology found in its chip architecture.

There is one U.S. company that Huawei would love to do business with again and that is Google. There is no workaround that would allow Huawei to license the Google Play services version of Android which includes core Google apps like the Play Store, Search, Maps, Gmail, YouTube, and others. While using the AOSP open-source version of Android and its AppGallery storefront doesn't matter inside China, it does become a factor when selling its phones outside of its home country. And there will be a point at which the manufacturer's shipments inside China start to cool off.

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47 Comments

1. DroidDude86

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 24, 2019

Good for him

2. VariableCheapskate

Posts: 185; Member since: May 29, 2019

And we can do fine without Huawei.

6. Samfruit

Posts: 32; Member since: Sep 11, 2018

i don't remember anyone saying you can't

10. TBomb

Posts: 1632; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

There have been some people here acting like the world will end without Huawei in the States. The world's going to end regardless... so I don't see the big deal

13. Samfruit

Posts: 32; Member since: Sep 11, 2018

i think it's the other way round. Most people (including me) thought Huawei won't survive with this US ban. But they've proven us wrong

31. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

Exactly. Most people thought the the U.S. governments course of action against Huawei would crush them, but the opposite has happened, and Huawei is thriving.

17. Venom

Posts: 3778; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

I agree. We don't need Huawei to succeed and provide their government with a backdoor.

3. handsomparis

Posts: 127; Member since: Jun 11, 2015

Oh he talking big stuff now lmao

4. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

I mean... he’s right. They saw growth this quarter despite the U.S. essentially blackmailing them out of the North American market.

12. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2474; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

The question is whether the growth was due to Chinese nationalism or if it was because of their product line. The reason I say this is because the Chinese people as a whole are very patriotic and nationalistic. When they see a company like Huawei being beat up by the US, consumers in China respond by buying Huawei as a show of support. I think we will see the real growth in next years sales since the patriotic hype will have died down by then.

18. Venom

Posts: 3778; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

I agree. I remember saying something like this recently and the Huawei apologists were in denial about it. For the most part their product line is pretty lackluster. They really don't stand out that much which is why they are always trying to copy the competition. Huawei has backing from the Chinese government.

22. tbreezy

Posts: 115; Member since: Aug 11, 2019

You’re right, they copied 27W Wirelessly charging, Reverse Charging, 5x Optical Zoom, Dark Mode UI and 7680fps Slo-Mo from the competition, LOL. They have literally pushed Cameras in mobile, charging and battery sizes far, but yeah they somehow copied all of it, even though most OEMs got those features later or not at all. :’D

29. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

Totally agree. Huawei has pushed innovation in the smartphone space, but plenty of people deny this for whatever reason. Huawei is one of the most innovative companies in the smartphone space.

35. tbreezy

Posts: 115; Member since: Aug 11, 2019

People who deny it were stupid and lazy, they do not want to give credit where it is due. While most phones struggle to do just 3x optical zoom from the Mate 20 Pro, Huawei already have 5x optical in the P30 Pro, where most companies barely have have more than 25W wired charging, Hauwei has 27W wireless. Yet people don’t want to accept that Huawei have pushed ahead.

39. Venom

Posts: 3778; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

They weren't blackmailed out. I mean no one is pointing fingers at China for doing this for years m

5. lyndon420

Posts: 6860; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

It's nice to see this...not giving in to the USA's bullying tactics. (Thumbs up)

25. dimas

Posts: 3394; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Wait. So when a country is deeply concern with it's cybersecurity, it is bullying? Then what do you call with chinese govt. not following international policies and territorial separatism in the south east asia? They've been building military posts in asian islands now and then. They are literally violating international laws and when u.s. stand up, china is the victim? Why are people so gullible with china's propagandas? If china can boycott iphones, asian countries should boycott chinese phones, too. Oh right, and somebody will cry that china is being oppressed financially.

42. jiangqiushi

Posts: 35; Member since: May 28, 2019

The US has been sailing in South China sea forever, sending troops in various Asian countries, killing innocent people around the world though... but that's ok I guess.

7. Samfruit

Posts: 32; Member since: Sep 11, 2018

They can survive without US. and they've proven it.

8. jellmoo

Posts: 2645; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Oh they absolutely can survive, no doubt. They won't be able to overtake Samsung in that case, but they';; certainly still do incredibly well.

9. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

Well, he’s right. Just look at how well they are doing now. Happy to see Huawei isn’t allowing the BS political propaganda that they are caught in paralyze them. Good on you, Huawei. Keep up the great work.

11. TBomb

Posts: 1632; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

China is big enough to any company can survive. 10% marketshare in China is still 130 million sales.

14. AngelicusMaximus

Posts: 747; Member since: Dec 20, 2017

That's not how market share work at all, but you're not wrong about their ability to survive.

19. Venom

Posts: 3778; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

China doesn't believe in a fair market. They believe they can force companies to turn over their own IP and hard work to give their companies an edge.

26. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

Using that logic, the U.S. doesn't believe in a fair market either. That's why they banned Huawei with no proof, and that's why they want to fund other companies to overtake Huawei.

38. Venom

Posts: 3778; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

You mean like how China does on a daily basis?

46. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

No, I mean like how the U.S. wants to do right now.

28. dimas

Posts: 3394; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

China always steal western technologies, they copy most then claim intellectual properties. I am glad google can't do business with them.

32. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

The U.S. is as dirty as China, if not more so.

37. Venom

Posts: 3778; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Right because the US is totally banning foreign films from their market in favor of domestic made movies or goods and services from other countries in favor of Chinese made ones. The US is well within their rights to ban Huawei just like China bans every thing else. You forgot to mention that part.

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