Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei has called for a reset in relations between the US and the Chinese tech giant. Speaking to international media in China for the first time in more than a year, Ren expressed willingness to speak with President Biden and said he hoped for an “open policy” from the new administration.
“I would welcome such phone calls and the message is around joint development and shared success,” Ren said in officially interpreted comments reported by CNBC, AFP, and the South China Morning Post. “The US wants to have economic growth and China wants to have economic growth as well.”
“If Huawei’s production capacity can be expanded, that would mean more opportunities for US companies to supply too,” Ren continued. “I believe that’s going to be mutually beneficial. I believe that (the) new administration would bear in mind such business interests as they are about to decide their new policy. We still hope that we can buy large volumes of American materials, components and equipment so that we can all benefit from China’s growth.”
Huawei is currently unable to do business with US companies because the Trump administration placed it on the Department of Commerce’s trade blacklist, citing national security fears. Among other issues, this means Huawei is unable to license Android from Google, severely hampering its smartphone business outside of China.
This prompted Huawei to sell off its Honor subsidiary in order to protect the brand and allow it to keep on producing smartphones, but Ren dismissed rumors that Huawei might do the same for its own smartphone division. “We have decided we absolutely will not sell off our consumer devices, our smartphone business,” he said.
Ren also reportedly called the iPhone 12 “the world’s best smartphone” and said that it helped make the case for Huawei’s 5G networks. “High-end customers in Europe love Apple,” he said. “Since [Huawei] doesn’t have premium handsets any more, Apple’s phones have helped us prove that Huawei’s 5G technology is good.”