Innovation should be cooperative, not isolated pursuit
Editor's note: Ren Zhengfei, founder of Huawei, recently met with two US scholars, George Gilder and Nicholas Negroponte, for talks over afternoon tea in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, in which he stressed how openness and cooperation, not isolation and confrontation, can promote human welfare and progress. In a post published on his WeChat account, Qin Shuo, a financial commentator, revealed some of Ren's remarks:
The main purpose of human society is to "create wealth" and lift more people out of poverty. That means human society must be built on win-win cooperation. In the information age, it is impossible for a country to advance development in isolation.
In the industrial age, each country could make their own sewing machines, tractors and other industrial products. But in the information era, it is impossible for a country to make one thing by itself. Therefore, countries must cooperate. Only through cooperation can we meet the needs of human civilization and enable more people to enjoy the benefits of new technologies at a lower cost.
I have never appreciated the term "independent innovation", because I believe that science and technology are the common wealth of all humanity and we must step on the shoulders of our predecessors to shorten our gap with the world's leading level. Except maybe farmers, no one believes he can do everything by himself. I support independent innovation on the spiritual level. That is to say, when other people innovate something, we should respect their intellectual property and get their permission for their use after paying appropriate fees.
Competitors also need cooperation with each other. When we were not that strong in the past, we still chose to cooperate with US companies, and now we have become more competitive, we are not afraid to have such cooperation.
Some people advocate the law of the jungle and excessively emphasize competition. However, the law of the jungle does not fully apply to human society, and in most cases and most of the time, the problem facing human beings is not "your death, my survival", but coexistence.
The United States has had an innovation economy for a long time. The US is therefore the upstream water of innovation, and upstream water will always flow downstream.
We need US chips at any time, and we do not exclude the US because what we need is not narrow-minded self-growth but common growth. In peacetime, we always buy half of our chips from US companies and use half made by ourselves. Even though our own chips cost a lot less, we still pay a lot more for US chips because we do not want ourselves to be isolated from the rest of the world.