“You Cannot Crush Us” – Huawei Founder Warned About Shifting Investment From The U.S. To U.K.

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Feb 19 2019
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Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei lives a quiet life and keeps an ultra-low profile despite his massive wealth. It would take the arrest of his daughter, 46-year-old Huawei chief financial officer Sabrina Meng, to make him active and starts expressing his opinion. Essentially, the world’s largest telecom-gear maker faced its worst ever crisis as the superpower U.S. starts the war against Huawei.


The last time he had an interview was in 2015 with the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). Four years later on Monday (Feb 18), the billionaire gave yet another rare interview to the BBC. Mr. Ren said that the arrest of his daughter was politically motivated. He blasted the U.S. – “Firstly, I object to what the U.S. has done. This kind of politically motivated act is not acceptable.”


The arrest of Sabrina on Dec 1 last year, the same night that U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping dined together in Buenos Aires and agreed to a 90-day trade truce, were seen as a deliberate act to humiliate the Chinese leader. Trump administration has claimed ignorance over the arrest of Sabrina, but very few believe the president was not kept in the loop.

Huawei Sabrina Meng Wanzhou

She was arrested in Vancouver, Canada at the request of the United States, for allegedly breaking U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran and faces extradition to the American soil and could be jailed for up to 30 years if found guilty. Huawei, along with another Chinese network equipment company, ZTE Corp, has been targeted by the U.S. of working at the behest of the Chinese government.


Commenting on the accusation by the U.S. that Huawei’s equipment could be used to spy on Americans, Ren Zhengfei reiterated that the company has never and will “never undertake” any spying activities. The U.S. allies – Japan, Australia and New Zealand – have been pressured to ban the local telecommunications companies from using Huawei equipment for their 5G mobile networks.


However, in his latest and rare interview with the BBC, the Huawei founder has downplayed the power the United States possessed in stopping Huawei’s business. He said “There’s no way the U.S. can crush us. The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced. Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit.”

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei

Mr. Ren claimed that Huawei has become better, partly due to America’s continuous pressure on the Chinese company. He told the BBC – “Because the US keeps targeting us and finding fault with us it has forced us to improve our products and services. They may have thought if they’ve arrested her (Sabrina Meng Wanzhou), Huawei would fall. But we didn’t fall, we are still moving forward.”


After praising Donald Trump as a “great president” in January, the Huawei founder now has a different thought about the U.S. hostility towards Huawei. He said the company could decide to downsize its investment in the United States and shift it to the United Kingdom, if the Trump administration continues its aggression against Huawei.


But can Huawei really trust British not to ban Huawei entirely? Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei explained – “We still trust in the UK, and we hope that the UK will trust us even more. We will invest even more in the UK. Because if the US doesn’t trust us, then we will shift our investment from the US to the UK on an even bigger scale.”

Britain - United Kingdom - Landmark

The billionaire appears to be referring to an earlier Reuters report that British security officials do not support a full ban of Huawei from national telecoms networks despite U.S. allegations against the Chinese firm. On Sunday, the Financial Times reported that the British government has decided it can actually mitigate the risks arising from the use of Huawei Technologies in 5G networks.


The conclusion made by the Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) obviously carries significant impact on the Huawei business in not only United Kingdom but also the European Union. Other EU nations can argue that if the British are confident of mitigation against national security threats, they can take the same precautions recommended by the UK and use Huawei’s equipments.


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