Davos WEF
Davos WEF

Huawei founder says Chinese giant can 'survive further attacks' from the US as he predicts escalation

Key Points
  • The U.S. is likely to step up its campaign against Huawei, the Chinese telecommunication giant's founder Ren Zhengfei said.
  • Ren said the company is "confident" that it can "survive even further attacks."
  • Huawei was put on a U.S. blacklist last year that restricted its access to American technology. Washington is reportedly looking to expand the scope of restrictions on Huawei.
Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei attends a session at the Congress center during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on January 21, 2020. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)
Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images

Washington may step up its campaign against Huawei, but the impact on business will be minimal, the Chinese telecom giant's founder, Ren Zhengfei, said on Tuesday.

Huawei has been the target of U.S. concern over its links to the Chinese government. Washington maintains that Huawei is a national security risk because its networking equipment could be used for espionage by the Chinese government. Huawei denies all the claims.

Last year Huawei was put on a U.S. blacklist that restricted its access to American technology. Ren expects that pressure to continue.

"This year the U.S. might further escalate their campaign against Huawei, but I feel the impact on Huawei's business would not be very significant," Ren said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

"This year in 2020, since we already gained experience from last year and we got a stronger team, I think we are more confident that we can survive even further attacks," he added.

Washington has been pressuring allies, most recently the U.K., to block Huawei from next-generation mobile networks known as 5G. Meanwhile, the U.S. is looking to introduce a rule that could block an increased number of foreign-made goods to Huawei, Reuters reported earlier this month, citing unnamed sources.

The blacklist even lead to Huawei having to release a flagship smartphone without licensed Google Android software.

But Huawei has been investing in its own core technology over the past few years, including chips and software. Last year Huawei launched its own operating system, called HarmonyOS, but it has not put it on any of its smartphones yet.

Ren said that Huawei has spent "hundreds of billions" to prepare a "plan B," which has allowed the company to survive.

"If we had this sense of security from the U.S., we did not have the need to come up with these back up plans. Since we didn't have that sense of security, we spent hundreds of billions to put our own plan B. That's why we withstood the first round of attack," Ren said.

The Huawei founder added that the U.S. is "overconcerned" with his company.