Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei denies China spying on clients

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei on Tuesday rejected claims his telecom network company is used by the Chinese government to spy on other countries, Financial Times reported.
Ren Zhengfei of Huawei
Ren Zhengfei, 74-year old, said he is missing his daughter Meng Wanzhou, who is being held by Canadian authorities. Canada has detained Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, last month at the request of U.S. authorities who allege she misled banks about the company’s control of a firm operating in Iran. She is on bail at present and can not move out of Canada as per the bail conditions.

Despite the potential impact on his business, Ren said he was confident Huawei’s revenue would grow to $125 billion in 2019 from more than $100 billion last year. “If they don’t want Huawei to be in some markets, we can scale down a bit,” Ren said.

Huawei said its total revenue will be touching $100 billion plus in 2018. Huawei generates revenue from telecom networks, smartphones and enterprise business. Huawei is already the number two smartphone maker ahead of Apple.

The comments from Ren Zhengfei follow the possible ban on the supply of telecom network equipment in key markets such as US, UK, Germany, Poland, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, among others.

Huawei supplies cost effective telecom equipment. Most of its telecom operator customers do not want to cancel their present business deals with Huawei. Less competition in telecom network market will result into price hike by Nokia and Ericsson, some of the global mobile operators feel.

“Huawei had never received any request from any government to provide improper information,” Ren Zhengfei told select reporters in the southern city of Shenzhen. “I still love my country, I support the Communist party, but I will never do anything to harm any country in the world.”

Huawei invited Financial Times, Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal for the rare interview. BBC reported that this is the third interview for Ren Zhengfei, a former military officer who founded Huawei in 1987. He owned 1.14 percent of the company’s shares.

Ren dismissed fears over the security of Huawei’s equipment, saying “no law in China requires any company to install mandatory backdoors (that could be used for spying)” and added the company had had “no serious security incidents”.

He also played down the risk Huawei faced from being blocked from the rollout of 5G telecoms networks by some countries.

“It’s always been the case, you can’t work with everyone. We’ll shift our focus to better serve countries that welcome Huawei’” he said, adding the company had 30 contracts globally to build 5G networks.

U.S. President Donald Trump in August signed a bill that barred the U.S. government from using Huawei equipment. The US is considering an executive order that would also ban U.S. companies from doing so.