The founder of Huawei has said there is “no way the US can crush” the company, in an exclusive interview with the BBC. Ren Zhengfei described the arrest of his daughter Meng Wanzhou, the company’s chief financial officer, as politically motivated.
The US is pursuing criminal charges against Huawei and Ms Meng, including money laundering, bank fraud and stealing trade secrets. Mr Ren spoke to the BBC’s Karishma Vaswani in his first international broadcast interview since Ms Meng was arrested – and dismissed the pressure from the US.
“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.”
However, he acknowledged that the potential loss of custom could have a significant impact.
Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned the country’s allies against using Huawei technology, saying it would make it more difficult for Washington to “partner alongside them”.
Australia, New Zealand, and the US have already banned or blocked Huawei from supplying equipment for their future 5G mobile broadband networks, while Canada is reviewing whether the company’s products present a serious security threat.
Mr Ren warned that “the world cannot leave us because we are more advanced”.
“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.”
The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has decided that any risk posed by using Huawei technology in UK telecoms projects can be managed.Many of the UK’s mobile companies, including Vodafone, EE and Three, are working with Huawei to develop their 5G networks.
They are awaiting a government review, due in March or April, that will decide whether they can use Huawei technology.Commenting on the possibility of a UK ban, Mr Ren said Huawei “won’t withdraw our investment because of this. We will continue to invest in the UK.