In the first filmed interview with a Western outlet following the mid-May ban issued by the United States government, Huawei founder and one of the richest men in the world, Ren Zhengfei, laughed about the predicament his company found himself in, maintaining things will be fine in the long term.
The 74-year-old told a Bloomberg reporter he's welcome to seek an interview with Huawei in two to three years if he doubts his predictions, jokingly pleading with him to "bring a flower and put it on our [Huawei's] grave" in case he's wrong and the company ceases to exist.
On the subject of U.S. President Donald Trump who repeatedly signaled he's prepared to use Huawei as leverage in Washington's ongoing trade negotiation with China's communist government — that are stalling yet again — in any way possible, Mr. Ren simply dismissed the head of the largest economic powerhouse on the planet. The U.S. never bought from Huawei, the entrepreneur remarked, adding that he might not sell to Washington even if the Trump administration was to approach him and asserting the White House cannot regulate foreign firms.
Needless to say, even if entities incorporated outside of U.S. soil aren't in Washington's jurisdiction, the May 17 blacklisting already proved to be a major blow to its operations, with suppliers cutting it off left and right. Even with the three-month suspension granted to it by the federal government that allowed it to resume its business relationship with Google, the fact that UK-based chipmaker ARM also ended up being compelled to pull its licenses is nothing short of a crippling development for Huawei whose subsidiary HiSilicon is entirely reliant on ARM-made designs in order to produce HiSilicon chips for Huawei and Honor's smartphones. Designs that include patented American technologies.
So, while Mr. Ren continues to insist Huawei can be self-sufficient in the near future, it's surviving to that near future that's the problem right now. The multi-billionaire may have been joking around during the latest interview, spending more time talking about how "laughable" and "contradictory" Trump's tweets are than expressing concern about the future of his conglomerate, but concern is precisely what's currently coming out of China in reaction to the ban. Well, concern and anger, of course, two things the current U.S. administration is excellent at generating, which most will have no issues with admitting, regardless of how they feel about it.
While Huawei's founder was mimicking an airplane as part of one of his business analogies, his daughter and Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was on the other side of the world, still trapped in Canada and embroiled in a fierce legal battle with Vancouver over a U.S. extradition request submitted by the Department of Justice which accuses her of being personally involved in an illegal banking scheme that defrauded several American financial institutions, all with the goal of circumventing stateside trade sanctions imposed on Iran. While it's her predicament that pulled Mr. Ren out of recluse, he didn't mention her during the newest interview, nor was he asked about her. Naturally, there's little chance of that being an accident given how highly controlled all interviews Huawei officials ever agreed to were and continue to be.