Huawei founder says hopes Biden administration will have 'open policy'

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said the company would not sell its smart devices businesses and that there would be no major leadership changes.

Huawei Technologies’ founder Ren Zhengfei said on Tuesday it would be “extremely difficult” for the United States to end the sanctions that have crippled its phone business, but that he hoped the new US administration would have an “open policy.”

Ren, who was making his first media appearance since March last year, said he hoped US President Joe Biden’s administration would bear in mind US business interests when forming its policy. He said it was “conducive” to the financial performance of US companies to supply Chinese firms.

Huawei achieved positive growth for both 2020 revenue and net profit, Ren said, adding that the company continued to see significant levels of confidence from its customers.

“We hope the new administration will harbor an open policy for the benefit of the American firms and also the economic development of the US,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a 5G mining project Huawei was launching in the northern Chinese city of Taiyuan. He added he would welcome a call from Biden.

The administration of former US President Donald Trump added Huawei, China’s leading telecommunications equipment maker, to a US trade blacklist in May 2019 citing national security concerns. Huawei has repeatedly denied it poses a risk.

That effectively banned US-based firms from selling Huawei essential US technology and last August, the ban was extended to foreign firms with US business, reaching chief suppliers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd, which effectively cut off Huawei’s access to chip supplies.

Ren said he believe it would still be “extremely difficult” for Huawei to be taken off the US entity list, but stressed that they continued to hope to buy “large volumes” of US equipment and materials if the Biden administration would allow it.

Ren said he was confident of Huawei’s ability to survive even as its mobile business remains under pressure.

Ren said the company would not sell its smart devices businesses and that there would be no major leadership changes.

He said that the company’s push into mining technology, smart airports and other areas would offset the revenue lost from its smartphone business in a year’s time. Huawei’s consumer business made up 54.4 percent of the company’s revenues in 2019.

The United States should “consider the future” of its chip industry, currently barred from selling to Huawei, Ren said, noting that Intel’s market share had fallen recently.

“If the number drops further, whether the US can continue to keep its chip industry, there’s a big question mark,” he said.

He said “not a single” US company had approached Huawei over his offer in September 2019 to license 5G tech to companies, but that the offer remained open.

Special Reports