Huawei has had ambitions to sell in the US for a long time, but Shenzhen’s Pride has taken its ambition to a whole new level. According to US officials, the company tried to circumvent the US ban on its devices by selling Huawei smartphones in disguise.
The plan from Huawei was to ship its Huawei-branded smartphones to Mexico, where they would be relabeled and then shipped across the border to the United States for sale. While the components within the smartphones would be recognized as Huawei, the phone label wouldn’t give away the nature of these smartphones. Without them being branded as “Huawei,” they could sell in the US. US intelligence officials learned of the plot last month and alerted policymakers.
Huawei’s illegal (and troubling) criminal activity
There are a number of individuals who have stayed afloat of Huawei and believe the company is getting mistreated because it is Chinese and from China, but that isn’t true. Even without all the evidence on the table that demands suspicion toward Huawei, this latest act to disguise Huawei smartphones and sell them illegally in the US is an even more troubling sign.
One thing that is mandatory in becoming a major tech company is trust and ethics. When companies stay above board and do what is right, they resonate with consumers, who become loyal and continue to buy their products. But when companies gain a reputation that is soiled and sullied, repairing its reputation can be near impossible and leads to financial ruin. Customers don’t want to invest in companies that break the rules, are guilty of illegal activity, and cannot be an example to others.
Huawei has had a string of actions that have made the company notorious in the eyes of a growing number of Americans. First, Huawei was accused of stealing trade secrets back in 2017 when the company plotted to copy T-Mobile’s smartphone-testing robot, Tappy after asking T-Mobile to sell Tappy or allow licensing rights. T-Mobile disagreed and said it wouldn’t license its own testing robot for any reason. Huawei toured the T-Mobile facility, taking pictures of the components and the robot itself.
Back in 2003, Cisco Systems sued Huawei, claiming that it copied its router and network switch code in violation of Cisco patents. The lawsuit was dropped the following year after Huawei agreed to modify its switch code.
Earlier this year, a Huawei employee and Warsaw Poland official were arrested for espionage on behalf of Beijing. Less than two weeks later, Huawei was caught trying to steal a copyrighted song, EDM’s Cymatics for its MediaPad S3 Lite Android tablet ad and aired the ad globally. Huawei was caught immediately.
When one examines these situations with Huawei, the company is not part of some US conspiracy to get Chinese companies out of the US market. Rather, Huawei is being charged with crimes it has committed mercilessly, all in part to get what it wants at all costs — no matter what laws it violates in the process.
The same company that will violate copyright to use a song in its tablet ads, steal a carrier’s smartphone-testing robot after asking for licensing rights nicely and getting a polite “no,” the same company that will spy for its Beijing Government, and the same company that will steal switch router code from a company will go to any lengths necessary, so long as its agenda is accomplished.
Huawei Banned in the US
Huawei’s latest actions only add to the suspicion that Congress has about the Shenzhen-based manufacturer. US President Donald Trump placed Huawei on the US Entity List back in mid-May, banning Huawei from buying or selling in the US. Though the President has relaxed his policy somewhat on American high-tech companies selling to Huawei, Huawei still cannot sell its products here, including smartphones.
Huawei’s blacklisting from sales here in the US explains why the company decided to infiltrate the country illegally to sell its smartphones. But what this shows is that Huawei cannot be trusted to comply with US law. How can a company like Huawei not comply with US law, but still think it should sell smartphones (or mobile devices in general) here?
After going under the Ban, this is the same company that turned around and attempted to sue Verizon Wireless for $1 billion in 5G patent royalties. A loophole in US law has allowed this illegality to be, but Congress says that it will put a stop to Huawei’s patent lawsuits while it is banned. No banned company should be allowed to profit in the banned country while under a national ban.
If Huawei is banned from selling smartphones but then plots to disguise them and sell them illegally, what will it not do? Huawei has already been prevented from selling smartphones with top US carriers AT&T and Verizon; could espionage be on the horizon?
Many would say that frustration and disappointment with carrier sales is one thing, and espionage is another, but if Huawei has bypassed laws before to commit illegal acts, what would stop Huawei from spying on the US now? In fact, a few Huawei employees have been guilty of the crime.