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Huawei CEO: US extension doesn't mean much

By Ma Si | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-05-21 09:47
Ren Zhengfei, founder and CEO of Huawei, gestures during a round table meeting with the media in Shenzhen city, South China's Guangdong province, Jan 15, 2019. [Photo/IC]

Ren Zhengfei, founder and CEO of Huawei, said on Tuesday that the US government's 90-day extension "doesn't mean much", adding that the company was ready to deal with the ban.

Ren's comments came after the US Commerce Department said on Monday that it gave Huawei a 90-day license to purchase US technologies to maintain existing networks and provide software updates to existing Huawei handsets. That marks a delay of the ban on US technology exports to Huawei.

Ren said in an interview with Chinese media in Shenzhen on Tuesday that "We are very grateful to the US companies. They have made a lot of contributions to us. Many of our consultants are from American companies such as IBM.

"We can make chips as good as those made by US companies, but it does not mean that we will not buy chips from them," Ren added.

He said the company will not exclude US chips. "Instead, we should grow together. But if there is a supply shortage, we have a backup. In the "peace period", half of our chips are from the US companies and half from Huawei. We cannot be isolated from the world."

Ren also highlighted that Huawei's 5G plan will not be affected by the US ban. "Others will definitely not be able to catch up with Huawei in 5G technologies for two or three years," he said.

Ren said Europe maintains close communications with Huawei and some features of 5G are very suitable for the rollout of the superfast technology in Europe. For instance, 5G capacity is 20 times that of 4G, and its power consumption 10 times less. "We also use materials that will not corrode for decades, and these characteristics are very suitable for Europe."

Ren said the US technologies are still worth learning in both their depth and width. Many small US companies have super-precision products.

"But in our business (5G), Huawei is at the forefront, though when it comes to comparison between countries, we are still far behind the United States,"Ren added.

"We will not go through an extreme shortage of supplies. We have made sound preparations," Ren said, adding that the company's employees are working overtime to prepare for such situations.

Ren said the current difficulties can spur China to develop the electronics industry in a down-to-earth manner. Pouring in money is not enough to develop the semiconductor industry. Instead, talent, including mathematicians and physicists, is needed to grow the chip sector.

"Global talent is also needed. It is very difficult to rely solely on China's independent innovation to succeed. Why can't we embrace the world and rely on global innovation?" Ren added.

"Don't fan nationalist sentiment," Ren also warned. Currently, the attitudes toward Huawei are divided into two groups. One represents the genuine patriots who support Huawei, while the other believes that Huawei has kidnapped the patriotic feelings of the entire society.

"We should stop others from shouting empty slogans and inciting nationalist sentiment," Ren said.

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