Huawei founder slams US efforts to blacklist firm

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said the arrest of his daughter Meng Wanzhou - the firm's chief financial officer - was politically motivated.
Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said the arrest of his daughter Meng Wanzhou - the firm's chief financial officer - was politically motivated.
Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said the arrest of his daughter Meng Wanzhou - the firm's chief financial officer - was politically motivated.
Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said the arrest of his daughter Meng Wanzhou - the firm's chief financial officer - was politically motivated.

He says the world cannot do without 'more advanced' tech, vows not to allow spying

BEIJING • The founder of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has hit back at US efforts to blacklist the company, saying defiantly that the world cannot do without Huawei and its "more advanced" technology.

"There is no way the US can crush us," Mr Ren Zhengfei said in an interview with the BBC. "The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced."

Mr Ren, 74, also denounced as "politically motivated" the December arrest of his daughter, Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is accused of violating US sanctions against Iran and faces an extradition hearing in Canada next month.

"We object to this," he said. "But now that we have gone down this path, we will let the courts settle it."

The normally media-shy Huawei founder has been forced to step into the limelight in recent months as the company has come under increasing pressure over espionage concerns and the US-led campaign to persuade other countries to ban its technology.

US prosecutors are also charging Huawei with stealing trade secrets, saying that it offered rewards to employees for stealing technology from other rivals.

Mr Ren shrugged off the growing pressure.

"If the lights go out in the West, the East will still shine," he said.

"America does not represent the world. America only represents a portion of the world.

"Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always downsize and become smaller."

 
 
 

However, he said that allowing spying was a risk he would not take.

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

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

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

Signs that the United States' efforts to convince its allies to shun Huawei technology could fall through are emerging.

British intelligence concluded that security risks posed by using Huawei's 5G equipment can be managed, The Financial Times reported on Monday.

An unnamed source said: "Other nations can make the argument that if the British are confident of mitigation against national security threats, then they can also reassure their public and the US administration that they are acting in a prudent manner to allow their telecommunications service providers to use Chinese components."

New Zealand is also in talks to minimise the security risks posed by using Huawei equipment in 5G infrastructure instead of excluding it entirely.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday that its security bureau was discussing Huawei security concerns with Spark, the domestic telecoms carrier that had been barred from using the Chinese firm's equipment last year.

She added that the company had never been ruled out from potentially participating in the country's 5G rollout.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2019, with the headline 'Huawei founder slams US efforts to blacklist firm'. Print Edition | Subscribe