Huawei’s founder says world can’t live without it

BEIJING (AFP) – The founder of Chinese telecom 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’s no way the US can crush us,” Ren Zhengfei said in an interview with the BBC.

“The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced.”

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.

This January 22, 2015 file picture shows Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei speaking during a session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos. – AFP

“But now that we’ve gone down this path, we’ll 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.

Last year, security concerns prompted Australia to ban Huawei equipment from its future 5G network.

New Zealand has also blocked its largest telecom carrier from using Huawei technology for the next generation network, while the Czech Republic has reportedly excluded it from a 20-million-euro (USD22 million) tender to build a tax portal.

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

Ren shrugged off the growing pressure.

“If the lights go out in the West, the East will still shine,” he said. “America doesn’t represent the world.”

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

Signs that US efforts to convince its allies to shun Huawei technology could fall through are also growing.

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

“Other nations can make the argument that if the British are confident of mitigation against national security threats then they can also reassure their publics and the US administration that they are acting in a prudent manner to allow their telecommunications service providers to use Chinese components,” an unnamed source told the newspaper.