Last month, Huawei reportedly separated the operations of its U.S. research and development facility—Futurewei Technologies—as it continued to react to the implications of its U.S. blacklisting.
“Futurewei had banned Huawei employees from its offices, moved Futurewei employees to a new IT system and forbidden them from using the Huawei name or logo in communications,” said the South China Morning Post.
If the separation was intended to stave off more drastic action it hasn’t worked. According to a Saturday (July 14) report in the Wall Street Journal, Huawei has now started to layoff staff in the U.S. R&D arm, as the company “continues to struggle with its American blacklisting.”
The division employees more than 850 people in Texas (the company’s U.S. home state), Silicon Valley and Washington State.
Futurewei found itself on the frontline as its parent company battled the U.S. blacklisting that came into effect in May.
And while the latest developments have seen a softening of restrictions on the more generic side of Huawei—essentially consumer products, core links with American universities and research bodies remain contentious.
“The exact number of layoffs couldn’t be determined,” reported the WSJ, “but one of the [inside] people said they were expected to be in the hundreds.
Some of Huawei’s Chinese employees in the U.S. were being given the option of returning home and staying with the company, another person said.”
Huawei and Futurewei are not separate entities, and the SCMP cited one inside source telling the newspaper that “Futurewei’s operations had been largely indistinguishable from Huawei—Futurewei had no separate brand or even a website… and its staff often identified themselves as Huawei employees.”