Ren Zhengfei, the founder of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, met with members of the press today and said that though the US government’s decision to blacklist his company could slow down the company’s growth, it would not affect Huawei’s competitive edge in 5G technology.
“US politicians have underestimated our power,” Ren told a group of reporters at the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen. “Huawei’s 5G definitely would not be affected. In terms of 5G technology, others can’t catch up with Huawei in two or three years’ time.”
But the company’s supply chain has been affected, Ren admitted. “US companies cannot refuse to follow US laws,” he said, adding that US companies and Huawei are on the same boat.
Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms equipment vendor and second-largest smartphone maker, has never tried to exclude outside suppliers even though they already have the capacity to make many of its own components, Ren said. “We buy at least 50 million sets of chips from Qualcomm every year. Not just 50 million chips, it’s 50 million sets of chips,” he said. “We would not easily and narrowly reject US chips. We need to grow together.”
Ren’s meeting with reporters came after early reports of impacts of the US ban on the company. The US Commerce Department has listed the Shenzhen-based company and its affiliates on a so-called “Entity list,” which bars US suppliers from dealing with Huawei without governmental approval.
Major US chipmakers—including Qualcomm, Intel, and Broadcom—have reportedly halted their supplies to Huawei in compliance with a new ban. Google, whose Android system runs on Huawei handsets, said yesterday that it would not be able to provide some services in new Huawei smartphones.
Earlier today, the Wall Street Journal reported that US officials said they would grant 90-day reprieves to some of Huawei’s suppliers and customers. Ren Zhengfei, however, thought the measure would not change much.
“The 90-day temporary licenses would not be very significant to us. We have made our preparations,” he said. “But we are very grateful to the US companies, and they have made many contributions for us.”