US President Donald Trump says that he's not talking about Huawei at this point in the US-China negotiations, but a Huawei company executive says there'll be no deal between the two top countries without Huawei, according to Bloomberg News.
Huawei Chief Security Officer Says No Huawei, No Deal
"Can I imagine a trade deal where the U.S. government doesn't agree to talk to us? No I can't," said Andy Purdy, Huawei USA Chief Security Officer in a Budapest briefing about the current state of negotiations. Andy Purdy has also appeared in CNBC interviews to discuss the standoff between the US and China.
From Osaka Until Now: Huawei Has Been Key To US-China Trade Deal, All Along
Of course, Purdy's statement that Huawei is at the center of trade talks is nothing new; in fact, Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei said prior to the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan this past summer that negotiations wouldn't be possible without removing the Huawei Ban.
And when President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Osaka, the two came to an agreement whereby China would invest more in American agricultural products and American high-tech companies would be allowed to sell to Huawei again, but still, there was little said about Huawei selling its goods and services in the US. It seems as though President Trump split the proverbial baby in earlier negotiations.
Now, though, the President has said that Huawei is off the table as far as discussions are concerned.
And yet, China will not negotiate without Huawei because Huawei, to use what may seem to be a scary phrase, is representative of the Chinese state.
Huawei = Advancement of China
The name Huawei is Chinese for "advancement of China," and there's a reason why the company bears a national name: it represents the Chinese state globally. And there's a reason behind its representative Chinese state status: in many ways, Huawei is China because it is state-owned, state-sponsored, and state-run.
Think about it: why is it that, whenever Huawei has a business deal with clients, Chinese officials show up? This is an issue, particularly when one examines the Wall Street Journal's expose on Huawei's decryption efforts and digital surveillance "safe cities" in the African governments of Uganda and Zambia. According to that report, in all the interactions between Huawei and Uganda (and Zambia), Huawei has promoted the Chinese state.
When Uganda's police force received training from Huawei, it was sent to Beijing for training at Huawei headquarters. Huawei even placed its logo proudly on the wall of the Ugandan police headquarters, a sign that its efforts to help Uganda are really about technological colonialism more than anything else.
Chief Security Officer (CSO) Andy Purdy had trouble answering questions about Huawei in a recent CNBC interview. When asked who owns Huawei, he points out that CEO Ren Zhengfei owns a mere 2% of the company. Who owns the other 98%? It's not a hard guess to assume the rest is owned by government officials. After all, the company is advancing the Chinese state; why wouldn't the government have personal and financial interest in such a company whose name elicits national pride?
Beijing bias toward Huawei
Beijing has quite a vested interest in Huawei, but the question on the table is this: Why does Beijing care more about Huawei than it does other Chinese vendors? If the Chinese vendor in question was Xiaomi, OnePlus, Vivo, ZTE, or OPPO, for example, and they were getting banned in the US, would the Chinese state care as much?
ZTE, for example, has been in trouble for its collaborations with Iran (imports to the sanctioned country) as of last year; why is it that the Chinese state has never really gone to the same lengths for ZTE that it has (and does) for Huawei?
Nokia CTO Marcus Weldon has said in an important interview (that had Nokia claiming it doesn't support his view) after the Finite State report regarding Huawei security became public that Huawei receives Chinese state subsidies, and that the government subsidies made it harder for Nokia to compete with Huawei there.
And yet, at the same time, Xiaomi doesn't have an advantage in the country over Nokia, nor would OPPO, Vivo, or any other Chinese vendor without sheer blood, sweat, and tears. Huawei, on the other hand, is Shenzhen's and Beijing's Pride. Why is this the case?
The Chinese state has made Huawei its favorite — and that not without reason. And the reason has little to do with Huawei's greatness, superiority, or talent, but more to do with the government's personal vested interest in the state-run company. The company's name and the meaning behind it says it all.