It’s no secret that Huawei is currently in a bit of hot water, with the US Government officially limiting the scope of business the Chinese-based tech giant can do with American companies, but Huawei’s founder doesn’t want China to retaliate in kind.
In an interview with Bloomberg (opens in new tab) via translator, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said he would “be the first to protest” if China were to impose a similar ban on Apple’s US-made iPhone devices in China.
“There have been calls by some in China for Beijing to retaliate against Apple,” Bloomberg began. “Is that an action that China should be looking at taking?”
“That will not happen,” Zhengfei responded. “If that happens, I'll be the first to protest. Apple is the world's leading company. If there was no Apple, there would be no mobile internet. If there was no Apple to help show us the world, we would not see the beauty of this world. Apple is my teacher – it's advancing in front of us. As a student, why should I oppose my teacher? I would never do that.”
Less than a year ago, Huawei overtook Apple to become the world’s second biggest smartphone maker behind Samsung, thanks in part to increased brand awareness and the success of its P20 flagship handset range.
When asked about Huawei’s goal of becoming the world’s leading smartphone maker, Zhengfei responded by saying that, as a private company, it’s not just pursuing growth or profit, and that it’s “good enough for us to just survive”.
Despite this mentality, Zhengfei is confident that the tech giant will be able to prosper in spite of the US trade ban, likening the company to an airplane that requires some holes to be patched, but will still fly, albeit at a reduced speed.
“Of the chips we’ve been using, half are from US companies and half we produce ourselves. If the US imposes further restrictions on us, we’ll reduce our purchases from the US and use more of our own chips,” Zhengfei reasoned, when asked about restrictions on US-made hardware and software.
When asked about specific plans of action, Zhengfei suggested that Huawei “might have contingency plans for the core of the airplane – the engine and fuel tank – but we may not have a plan for the wings. We need to review the situation all over again and fix those problems”.
He also mentioned that the two-year lead in terms of 5G capability that the company professed to have would likely suffer as a result of this, but he suggests that Huawei “will fly fast again once all the holes [in the airplane’s wings] are fixed”.