BEIJING, May 20 – Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei is ready to face Washington's crackdown and reduce its reliance on US components, its founder told Japanese media.
President Donald Trump effectively banned Huawei on Wednesday from entering the US market and added it to a list that would restrain US sales to the company in the context of a trade war growing with Beijing.
"We have already prepared for it," Zhengfei, founder and CEO of Huawei, a group of Japanese journalists, said Saturday in his first interview since Trump's move.
Ren said Huawei will continue to develop its own components to reduce its dependence on outside suppliers.
Huawei is a growing leader in 5G technology but remains dependent on foreign suppliers.
According to the business daily Nikkei, the group buys about 67 billion US dollars (of which 279.8 billion RMB) of components each year, including about 11 billion US dollars from US suppliers.
Ren, 74, generally elusive, has emerged from the shadows in recent months in the face of growing pressure on his company.
Ren's military history and Huawei's opaque culture fueled suspicion in some countries to establish links with the Chinese military and intelligence services.
Huawei is also the target of an intense campaign led by Washington, which is trying to convince its allies not to let China play a role in building new generation 5G mobile networks.
US government agencies are already banned from buying equipment in Huawei.
"We have not done anything in violation of the law," said Ren, adding that the US measures would have limited impact.
"We expect Huawei's growth to slow down, but only slightly," he said, according to The Nikkei.
A former army technician, Ren founded Huawei in 1987 with only 5,000 US dollars, according to company sources.
Huawei, which today has nearly 190,000 employees, operates in 170 countries and has a turnover of more than $ 100 billion in 2018.
Ren said his company would not yield to Washington's pressure.
"We will not change our direction at the request of the United States nor will we accept surveillance, as did ZTE," said President Nikkei, citing the same Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE, also aimed by Washington.
ZTE nearly collapsed last year after US companies were banned from selling key components for continued relations with Iran and North Korea.
Trump then overturned the decision and, in return, ZTE had to pay a fine of $ 1 billion and accept the US Commerce Department's oversight. – AFP