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Huawei founder doesn’t expect US sanctions to lift, but hopes for Biden dialogue

Paul Lipscombe
February 9, 2021

Ren Zhengfei has called on the US to be more open to Chinese businesses

The founder of Huawei has said he doesn’t expect President Joe Biden to lift the sanctions imposed by the previous US administration.

But Ren Zhengfei says he is still willing to open dialogue with President Biden and that Huawei can still survive even without relying on smartphone sales.

He gave the comments during the opening ceremony of an innovation lab in the Chinese city of Taiyuan.

“First, trade benefits both sides. Allowing US companies to supply goods to Chinese customers is conducive to their own financial performance. If Huawei’s production capacity expanded, that would mean US companies could sell more. It’s a win-win situation.

“I believe the new administration will weigh and balance these interests as they consider their policies. We still hope to be able to buy a lot of US components, parts, and machinery so that US companies can also develop with the Chinese economy.”

He adds that the US is blocking Huawei but this won’t stop the company from continuing to push on with its products.

Ren also welcomes the US to overcome any concerns it has around Huawei’s 5G, by pledging to be open with source programs and source code related to 5G.

“Some US politicians have concerns over the potential impact 5G may have on a global scale. As I once pledged, we would transfer all of our 5G technologies, not just licensing production to others.

“As long as the US asks for it, we would transfer everything from the source programs and source code to all the hardware design secrets and know-how, and even the chip design. I meant what I said, but no US company has come forward. If they want to talk, we’d be happy to talk.”

US sanctions

Huawei has had a difficult time since former US President Donald Trump imposed a number of sanctions on the vendor.

This included banning Google from working with Huawei and also restrictions on Huawei’s access to US chipset suppliers, both of which vastly impacted Huawei’s ability to sell smartphones in large amounts outside of China.

When asked if Huawei can survive against these challenges, Ren said: “We can still survive even without relying on phone sales.”

Huawei shipped the third highest volume of smartphones last year according to Canalys, however dropped out of the top five for shipment figures in Q4, for the first time in five years.

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