Huawei is the world's third-largest phone manufacturer behind Apple and Samsung, and while it has ambitious plans to overtake its competitors, that's now seeming very unlikely, with a new report from The New York Times indicating that the Chinese giant is considering throwing in the towel when it comes to cracking the US market.
According to anonymous sources, Huawei has reportedly laid off five key US employees, including William B. Plummer, vice president of external affairs at Huawei and the lead lobbyist in charge of winning over the US government. The latter has repeatedly accused Huawei of secretly spying on behalf of China.
The Times' report follows numerous setbacks in the company's quest to sell its products in America, including telco AT&T backing out of its Huawei US deal and retailer Best Buy announcing it won't sell the Mate 10 Pro or other Huawei devices anymore.
A threat to national security?
Plummer had been with the company for eight years and was its most senior, non-Chinese national employed in the US. His dismissal, along with the four other US-based employees, seems to suggest that Huawei is giving up on what is increasingly looking like a futile fight to get its products into the hands of stateside tech enthusiasts.
“Some things cannot change their course according to our wishes,” the company's deputy chairman, Eric Xu, told the company’s annual analyst meeting on Tuesday according to the NYT. “With some things, when you let them go, you actually feel more at ease.”
To make matters worse for the Chinese phone-maker, the US Federal Communications Commission has voted in favor of introducing new rules on Tuesday which would prohibit federal funds from being spent on companies considered to be a threat to national security.
Huawei isn't the only Chinese tech company facing major interference from Washington — ZTE has also joined Huawei in the US government's doghouse.