As U.S. sanctions against Huawei continue, the company is feeling the pain. At its 17th annual Global Analyst Summit this week, rotating chairman Guo Ping said, “Over the past year, many technologies became unavailable to us. Despite this, Huawei struggled to survive and is striving to move forward.”
In a statement released at the beginning of the two-day hybrid (onsite and online) event, Huawei strongly condemned the most recent U.S. actions restricting its ability to use U.S. technology and software in its semiconductor design and manufacturing, calling the decision ” arbitrary and pernicious”, and saying it threatens to undermine the entire industry worldwide.
“This decision by the U.S. government does not just affect Huawei. It will have a serious impact on a wide number of global industries. In the long run, this will damage the trust and collaboration within the global semiconductor industry which many industries depend on, increasing conflict and loss within these industries,” the statement said.
Furthermore, it accused the U.S. of leveraging its own technological strengths to “crush companies outside its own borders”, noting, “This will only serve to undermine the trust international companies place in U.S. technology and supply chains. Ultimately, this will harm U.S. interests.”
Aaron Shum, senior director and practice lead, security, risk, and compliance at Info-Tech Research Group, remains skeptical about the U.S.’s claims about Huawei technology.
“Obviously the public position against China is tied to concerns about national security. However, the U.S. has yet to produce hard evidence demonstrating Huawei technology compromising government data,” noted Shum. “These attacks result in a split between U.S. and its allies and the rest of the world in 5G development, though some U.S. allies such as the UK have chosen to allow Huawei into non-core 5G networks. In Canada, the country’s delayed response in its decision on 5G, combined with U.S. influence on deprioritizing Huawei, will no doubt increase the cost of our deployment while limiting the available options to just two vendors. Historically, at least Telus has disclosed the use of Huawei equipment. Interestingly, Telus announced intent to use Huawei technologies for 5G earlier this year.”
During his keynote, Guo Ping said that to mitigate the impact of the entity listing, Huawei has significantly increased its research and development investments and expanded its inventory.
“Fixing the holes has been our focus,” he said. Over the past year, the company invested over 15,000 man-years to ensure its ICT business continuity, rewriting 16 million lines of code, and redeveloping more than 1800 circuit boards. As well, its procurement department reviewed over 16,000 part numbers.
“Such heavy investments have enabled Huawei to survive under the entity list,” he noted. “Our business has not been disrupted, our supply, our cooperation with partners, and our customer services have not been disrupted.”
He then pivoted to discuss the need for unified global standards, pointing out that while, since 2G days, U.S. carriers adopted competing standards while Europe’s have been unified, allowing its carriers to establish global operations while European equipment providers have remained competitive.
“I remember talking to a country leader last year. And he said to me, ‘I will build two clouds from different countries, as long as they don’t cause trouble at the same time, we are in good shape.'” Guo Ping said. “I believe that many customers would agree with him. More companies may do what we are doing, diversifying globalized supply chains to ensure business continuity. The lesson here is that unified standards are of vital importance to industry development.”
But, he went on, with foundations of trust and global collaboration under attack, the U.S. moves against tech companies in other countries will shake countries’ confidence in American technology.
“Given the changes in the industry over the past a year, it’s dawned on us more clearly that fragmented standards and supply chains benefit no one,” he went on. “If further fragmentation were to take place, the whole industry would pay a terrible price.”
He said he is confident the company will find a solution to the current situation soon; for now, “Survival is the keyword for us at present.”