US government-led bans on Huawei products and services could ultimately strengthen its position and have further unintended consequences in the tech industry, based on recently reported statements about the situation made by economics professor David Daokui Li. The professor, working out of Beijing's Tsinghua University, says that the Trump Administration's move to reduce the company's access to US technologies is forcing the company to develop its own solutions -- "waking the sleeping capacity of Huawei."
By encouraging the company to build its own ecosystem and supply chain in order to remain competitive, the US is also forcing the world's second largest smartphone manufacturer and leading networking equipment provider to reduce dependency on established tech firms.
On the hardware side of the equation, that means Huawei is being pushed to stop relying on companies such as Qualcomm and Intel. Simultaneously, it is being driven to drastically cut cooperation with Google and Microsoft for software.
A ban with potentially serious consequences
The implications of such a dynamic shift in the global technology industry, with a leading OEM stepping away from reliance on US companies or those in allied nations, may not be great for Android or the current leaders in the market. If Huawei is successful in introducing its own operating system, chips, and other components or solutions, other companies in its home region and elsewhere could feasibly follow suit.
Those companies wouldn't necessarily build out their own products but they may turn to Huawei instead. For Android, that may mean fewer competing companies within Google's own ecosystem and more external threats.
That scenario isn't entirely unlikely to happen either.
For example, Kai OS is already gaining a strong foothold in India and other emerging regions, forcing Google to take a closer look at building further products and services for competing platforms outside of Android or iOS. Huawei creating its own ecosystem will give the search giant another operating system to compete with on the world stage and over a wider area.
Huawei also manufacturers hardware that operates on Microsoft’s software platforms and the ongoing ban impacts that as well, so issues could arise for Windows sales in the region too.
In terms of hardware, Huawei has already been developing its own silicon through its subsidiary HiSilicon -- responsible for the widely lauded AI-empowered Kirin chipsets. While that brand is currently only in use in Huawei-built devices, that could change as the company is forced to rely more heavily on its own underlying technologies too.
At least in China, Kirin-branded chips would easily rival offerings from the likes of Qualcomm or Intel, improving its position on the global market as a chipset manufacturer.
We're not quite there yet
Huawei’s efforts in both the software and hardware development spheres has been well documented since the beginning of the ongoing trade war between China and the US but actually started much earlier. That means that Huawei has something of a head start in countering the problems it currently faces but things also aren't quite so straightforward.
The consequence of the company's position in the market has, in fact, resulted in a temporary reprieve for the company with regard to the ban instituted by the US government. That, combined with its own capabilities in the tech industry, gives Huawei some leverage.
Among the most recent turns in the events, Huawei has gone so far as to state that it is willing to sign "no-spy agreements" with countries where it will operate. The apparent hope is that it can address the underlying concern fueling the haphazard bans, in addition to easing tensions even as the ban continues to harm Western companies as much as it does Huawei.