US ban will not lead to negative growth: Huawei CEO

“We don't want to hurt our partners”

by: - Last updated on: May 24th, 2019

His daughter was arrested a few months ago. His company, which was seemingly challenging for the throne of number one smartphone brand, has been dealt a few blows over the past few days, with Android support seemingly coming to an end and the shadow of getting no processors from ARM, Qualcomm and Intel looming over its future. You would not blame Huawei’s CEO Ren Zhengfie for being annoyed. But even as the tech air has been full of gloom and doom, seasoned with adversarial talk about how Huawei could hit back, the Huawei CEO has handed out a lesson in humility and diplomacy.

huawei ban

Speaking to Chinese media, Zhengfie insisted that this was not the end of the road for US companies and Huawei. Answering a question, the Huawei CEO actually expressed gratitude to US companies, saying “They have helped us to grow into what we are today. They have made many contributions to us. We also have been receiving support from a large number of US component and part manufacturers over all these years. In the face of the recent crisis, I can feel these companies’ sense of justice and sympathy towards us.

And although his own brand might have been on the receiving end from a US company, he was in no mood to bash corporate USA, preferring to lay the blame at the door of “politicians.” “The US has added Huawei to the Entity List,” he explained. “That is to say if a US company wants to sell something to Huawei, it needs to obtain approval from the US government. The US is a country ruled by law. US companies must abide by the laws, and so must the real economy. So let’s should not always blame US companies. The blame should rest with some US politicians. We should understand that these US companies and Huawei share the same fate. We are both players in the market economy.

Zhengfie also was optimistic about the continuation of the supply of technology from US companies to Huawei. Answering a question on processors, he said: “We are always in need of US chips. Our US partners are fulfilling their responsibilities and asking for approval from Washington. If this approval is granted, we will still buy chips from these suppliers. We may even sell chips to US companies (to help the US make more advanced products).” And at a time when a lot of people have been hinting that Huawei might try to hit back at its US suppliers, Zhengfie insisted: “We won’t exclude our US partners or seek to grow entirely on our own. Instead, we will grow together.

He returned to the subject when he was asked about Huawei’s developing its own products to replace those of Google and other US companies. “The main purpose of independent innovation is to become a dominant player. But we want to have partners all over the world,” he said. “We don’t want to hurt our partners. We want to help them have robust financial statements, even if it means we have to make adjustments.

huawei ceo

As for the current crisis, Zhengfie said he had seen the signs of it coming quite a while ago. “At the beginning of this year, I predicted that something like this would occur two years later and that the US would not take action before the US lawsuit against us was settled in court,” he said. “We were quite sure that they would take action against us whatever the result was. We thought we would have two years to make preparations. But when Meng Wanzhou (his daughter and Huawei CFO) was arrested, it sparked everything off.

But while the crisis had erupted earlier than he had expected, the Huawei CEO insisted that the company had been preparing itself for it. “Our company will not end up with an extreme supply shortage,” he assured the media. “We have got well prepared.

Perhaps this is one reason why Zhengfie does not feel that the US ban will hit Huawei too negatively, although it will have an impact. Answering a query, he said “Our growth will slow down, though not by as much as everyone imagines. In the first quarter of this year, our revenue grew 39 percent over the same period last year. This rate decreased to 25 percent in April and may continue decreasing towards the end of this year. But the US ban will not lead to negative growth or harm the development of our industry.

Asked if he thought the ban would disrupt the international market, Zhengfie answered: “I don’t think so. Europe will not follow in the footsteps of the US, and,” he added, tellingly, “the majority of US companies are communicating closely with us.

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