BEIJING, China – Chinese telecoms giant Huawei is ready to deal with Washington’s crackdown and will reduce its reliance on US components, its founder told Japanese media.
“We have already been preparing for this,” Huawei founder and chief executive officer Ren Zhengfei told a group of Japanese journalists on Saturday, May 18, in his first interview since Trump’s move.
Ren said Huawei would continue to develop its own components to reduce its dependence on outside suppliers.
Huawei is a rapidly expanding leader in 5G technology but remains dependent on foreign suppliers.
It buys about $67 billion worth of components each year, including about $11 billion from US suppliers, according to The Nikkei business daily.
The usually elusive Ren, 74, has come out of the shadows in recent months in the face of increasing pressure on his company.
Ren’s army background and Huawei’s opaque culture have fueled suspicions in some countries that the firm has links with the Chinese military and intelligence services.
“We have not done anything which violates the law,” Ren said, adding the US measures would have a limited impact.
“It is expected that Huawei’s growth may slow, but only slightly,” he said, according to The Nikkei.
A former army technician, Ren founded Huawei in 1987 with only $5,000, according to company lore.
Huawei now claims to have nearly 190,000 employees, operates in 170 countries, and reported revenue of more than $100 billion in 2018.
Ren said his company would not yield to pressure from Washington.
“We will not change our management at the request of the US or accept monitoring, as ZTE has done,” he said, as quoted by The Nikkei, referring to fellow Chinese telecoms giant ZTE which was also targeted by Washington.
ZTE came close to collapse last year after US firms were banned from selling it vital components over its continued dealings with Iran and North Korea.
Trump later reversed the decision and in return ZTE had to pay a $1-billion fine and accept monitoring by the US Commerce Department. – Rappler.com