As Huawei Technology Ltd languishes in the spotlight; its founder and CEO, Ren Zhengfei, has stepped out from the background to set the record straight – the company does not allow the Chinese government access to its customer data.
In a rare public appearance, Mr Ren reportedly said Huawei would not permit the Chinese government access, even if it requested for it, thus beating down US allegations that the telecommunications company was spying on behalf of its government.
A leading telecommunications company in China, Huawei has been under intense stress after the arrest of its chief financial officer and the CEO’s daughter, Meng Wanzhou, in Canada for alleged fraudulent payments that infringed US sanctions.
She was granted bail by Canadian courts, but the US wants her extradition to try her for claims that she misled banks about the relationship between Huawei and Hong Kong telecom equipment seller Skycom Tech Co., which had done business with Iran, as the UK-based Guardian reported.
The situation was compounded with the arrest of a Huawei employee in Poland, who is alleged to have spied on the Polish government for China. He has been sacked by Huawei, which claims to have no connections to him.
According to CNBC, the 74-year-old Huawei CEO told a media conference in Shenzhen, China on Tuesday (Jan.16): “When it comes to cyber security and privacy protection, we are committed to side with our customers. We will never harm any nation or any individual.
“China’s ministry of foreign affairs has officially clarified that no law in China requires any company to install mandatory “back doors”. Huawei and … [ I personally] have never received any request from any government to provide improper information.”
Some of the anxiety about Huawei stems from Mr Ren’s affiliation with the communist government: as a party member, and his early years as a soldier with the People’s Liberation Army.
However, he stressed that although he loves his country and supports the party, “I will not do anything to harm the world,” Bloomberg reported him saying. “I don’t see a close connection between my personal political beliefs and the businesses of Huawei.”
Apart from being blocked from selling equipment to the US by President Trump’s government, CNBC noted that the company has also been excluded from supplying components for 5G mobile internet networks to Australia, New Zealand and Japan by the respective countries.
Nevertheless, Mr Ren praised Mr Trump, whom he called “bold” for the US tax cuts, and believes that he is a “great president”, as CNBC reported.
Mr Ren notes the impact on the company in its 2019 financial year, forecasting its top-line growth to be below 20 percent; that’s $125 billion as opposed to $100 billion in 2018.
He said that Huawei is not a public company, and is not concerned about “‘beautiful earnings reports.”
“If they don’t want Huawei to be in some markets, we can scale down a bit. As long as we can survive and feed our employees, there’s a future for us.”