Huawei says it hasn't talked with Apple about any 5G chip deal — even though CEO Ren is 'open' to it

Elizabeth Schulze | CNBC
One of Huawei's booths at MWC Barcelona 2019.

Huawei has not had any discussions with Apple about selling 5G chips to the Cupertino-based company, one of the company's top bosses said Tuesday.

The comments come after Huawei's CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei told CNBC that the Chinese firm is "open" to selling its 5G modems to the iPhone maker. And while the company may see some potential in that idea, it hasn't had any talks with Apple about the subject, according to Ken Hu, one of Huawei's rotating chairmen.

"We do not have communication with Apple on this issue," Hu said at the Huawei Analyst Summit held in Shenzhen, China on Monday. Hu was addressing a large audience in Mandarin through an official translator.

Last year, Huawei released its own 5G modem. That's a piece of equipment inside devices to help them connect to mobile internet.

Speaking with CNBC on Saturday, Ren called Apple a "great company," a sentiment that was echoed by Hu, who said he looked forward to Apple's participation in the 5G phone market. 5G is the name given to next-generation mobile networks which promise to deliver super-fast download speeds and support new technologies like driverless cars.

"5G is in an exciting era preparing for its full bloom. We think at this time Apple should definitely play a very important role in it and Apple should not be absent from it," Hu said.

Apple does not yet have a 5G-compatible iPhone. Huawei and rival Samsung have both announced 5G-ready handsets.

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