Huawei USA chief security officer Andy Purdy now claims that as many as "40,000 American jobs" are at risk because of the ongoing US ban against the company. That's because, according to Mr. Purdy, there are no fewer than 200 American companies waiting to do business with Huawei.
The Chinese tech giant is able to make its 5G technology with no American components right now, the executive continued. The company does want to return to working with companies from the region. If forced, it will look elsewhere.
The statements were made during a recent interview on CNBC's Squawk Box during which Mr. Purdy also recognized the challenges presented by the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China. The executive concedes that there is a disparity. There's no easy way for American companies to enter into operations in China. But he also claims that the past two years have seen steps taken to start solving that discrepancy.
Impact of Huawei ban on US jobs means no improvement
Asked about the plausible impact on Huawei if the ban isn't lifted, Mr. Purdy says there's already evidence that it hasn't had much of an impact at all. Instead, while the exact harm to Huawei isn't known, the company is doing very well. The executive points to Huawei's third-quarter year-over-year results, up 24.4-percent. Profits were up 8.7-percent.
It's smartphone sales have not suffered either, with Huawei moving more than 37 million Huawei P30 and Mate 20 handsets as of early November. The company has managed that despite having no access to Google's apps and services. Its also despite the fact that almost none of Huawei's devices are reaching US consumers, which is another pain point for the company pointed out by Mr. Purdy.
The company's done well enough that it's currently in the process of handing out $286 million in bonuses to its employees. That hasn't come at no cost to Huawei's employees, forced to work long hours and ultimately resulting in backlash from workers.
But Mr. Purdy argues that continuing to cut off Huawei from its US partners ultimately hurts US employers and employees. The executive concludes that it would be 'cutting off our nose to spite our face'. It doesn't improve the US's position with respect to China.
Why the ban?
Huawei has been on a US entity list, preventing dealings with American companies, since May. So the company and its subsidiaries have been able to conduct at least some business through various government licenses. But that has been severely limited.
The company was added to the list with citations about security concerns that have largely gone unaddressed. Chiefly, US officials are concerned the company will spy for the Chinese government — a claim flatly and consistently denied by Huawei.
The company's Huawei USA chief security officer did not address whether or not Huawei is a security risk either. Instead, he alludes to the fact that Huawei wants to work with US companies and with the US government but says that it can't. The ongoing trade talks prevent that from happening.