"There Is No Way The US Can Crush" Huawei, Founder Says

In his second interview with a western media outlet in as many months, the typically reclusive Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei shared his thoughts on the US's crackdown on the company he built, the charges against his daughter (Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou) and allegations about the company's ties to China's state security apparatus.

Huawei

Ren Zhengfei

When it comes to the US's campaign to convince its western partners to outlaw or discourage the use of Huawei equipment - a campaign that has so far met with mixed success, as foreign telecoms companies have been forced to reckon with the reality of just how dependent they are on Huawei's technology - Zhengfei pointed out that America only represents a small portion of its business, and no matter what Washington does, the fallout can only be so bad.

"If the lights go out in the West, the East will still shine. And if the North goes dark, there is still the South. America doesn't represent the world. America only represents a portion of the world."

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"There's no way the US can crush us," he said. "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."

He also reiterated that Huawei won't install any "backdoors" to allow the Chinese government to monitor traffic over its networks.

Huawei, which is China's largest private company, has been under scrutiny for its links to the Chinese government - with the US and others expressing concern its technology could be used by China's security services to spy.

Under Chinese law, firms are compelled to "support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work".
But Mr Ren said that allowing spying was a risk he wouldn't take.

"The Chinese government has already clearly said that it won't install any backdoors. And we won't install backdoors either."

"We're not going to risk the disgust of our country and of our customers all over the world, because of something like this."

"Our company will never undertake any spying activities. If we have any such actions, then I'll shut the company down."

Echoing the official line from Beijing, Zhengfei said he believes the prosecution of his daughter is a politically motivated act.

Mr Ren's daughter Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer, was arrested on 1 December in Vancouver at the request of the US, and is expected to be the subject of a formal extradition request.

In total, 23 charges are levelled against Huawei and Ms Weng. The charges are split across two indictments by the US Department of Justice.

The first covers claims Huawei hid business links to Iran - which is subject to US trade sanctions. The second includes the charge of attempted theft of trade secrets.

Mr Ren was clear in his opposition to the US accusations.

"Firstly, I object to what the US has done. This kind of politically motivated act is not acceptable."

"The US likes to sanction others, whenever there's an issue, they'll use such combative methods."

"We object to this. But now that we've gone down this path, we'll let the courts settle it."

Of course, Zhengfei has a point about the US's inability to hurt Huawei. Even the UK, which is a member of the US-led "Five Eyes" intelligence alliance, has concluded that using Huawei equipment in 5G networks is a "manageable risk." Meanwhile, German media reported Tuesday that officials are leaning toward allowing Huawei to participate in the construction of its 5G network.

Watch a clip from the interview below: