Huawei is doing damage control after its consumer electronics chief accused the company's rivals from resorting to political attacks in order to keep the firm outside of the United States. While speaking on the sidelines of the recently concluded Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, CEO Richard Yu said the opposition the company encountered in the U.S. is a result of "politics" that its competitors resorted to as they aren't able to keep up with it technologically. In a subsequent interview with South China Morning Post, Huawei SVP and communications chief Chen Lifang said Mr. Yu wasn't authorized to make such comments, adding that the Beijing-based company doesn't agree with his stances.
"It's not right to blame the other party for not accepting us, we can only try harder, maintain our openness and transparency and wait until the other party is willing to communicate," Mr. Chen said in an attempt to lower the tensions between the firm and the U.S. government. The Mate 10 series of Android smartphones was meant to be carried by AT&T starting early this year but the deal fell through hours before its planned announcement at the Las Vegas, Nevada-based Consumer Electronics Show in January, according to previous reports. AT&T is understood to have been pressured by Washington to drop the partnership or risk losing lucrative government contracts. A number of intelligence agencies in the U.S. warned politicians and the general public against purchasing Huawei-made hardware, citing spying concerns due to the firm's close ties to Beijing. Huawei repeatedly dismissed such claims and had some of its wireless carrier partners come to its defense last month.
The MWC 2018 comments marked the second occasion on which Mr. Yu went off script in order to share his thoughts on the company's failed attempt to penetrate the U.S. market. The executive gave an emotional speech at CES tackling the same issue two months ago, though Huawei didn't distance itself from his remarks on that occasion. Opponents of the firm's Western ambitions often criticized it based on multiple allegations of intellectual property theft, as well as the fact that Beijing's aggressively protectionist policy allowed Huawei to grow in the first place, suggesting the phone maker hence shouldn't be complaining about other governments not allowing added foreign competition in their markets. Washington is understood to be primarily concerned about Huawei's 5G equipment, whereas its decision to block the company from entering the stateside smartphone market on a large scale is likely just a side effect of those fears.