In May, Huawei’s chief executive said that he would be against a possible decision by Beijing to ban Apple from China’s market in retaliation for the US putting the Chinese tech giant on a blacklist earlier that month.
Huawei founder and chief executive officer Ren Zhengfei has told The Financial Times that Apple remains his “role model” in terms of Huawei’s commitment to users’ privacy.
He pledged that his company will “never” provide users’ data to the Chinese government, following Apple’s example.
“We will never do such a thing. If I had done it even once, the US would have evidence to spread around the world. Then the 170 countries and regions in which we currently operate would stop buying our products, and our company would collapse”, Ren pointed out.
He touted Huawei’s employees as “very competent” and those who “would pay the debts we owe”.
“So they would resign [in case of violation of Huawei users’ privacy] and start their own companies, leaving me alone to pay off our debts. I would rather die”, Ren said, adding that data is “owned by our customers” rather than Huawei itself.
The interview comes after Ren told Bloomberg in late May that he would be against Beijing’s possible decision to ban the Apple Corporation from the Chinese market in a tit-for-tat move.
“That will not happen, first of all. And second of all, if that happens, I’ll be the first to protest. Apple is my teacher, it’s in the lead. As a student, why go against my teacher? Never”, he underscored.
This was preceded by the US Department of Commerce blacklisting Huawei Technologies and around 70 of its affiliates, in a move that prompted several US corporations, such as Google and Microsoft as well as major semiconductor makers, including Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx and Broadcom, to follow suit and sever ties with Huawei.
Washington’s crackdown on the Chinese tech giant showed signs of easing in late June when President Donald Trump announced that US suppliers will be permitted to sell components and spare parts to Huawei following talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Osaka.
White House economic aide Larry Kudlow, however, noted that Trump’s move with respect to Huawei is “not a general amnesty”.
“Huawei will remain on the so-called Entity’s List, where there are serious export controls and in any national security instances or suggestions there won’t be any licenses, but having said that, I think that all that’s going to happen is the commerce department will grant some temporary additional licenses where there’s a general availability”, he said.
The Chinese tech giant has repeatedly rejected US intelligence agencies’ accusations that it allegedly installs “backdoor” access on its devices at the behest of the Chinese government in order to help Beijing spy on the users of its gadgets.
The US clampdown on Huawei comes amid an ongoing trade spat between Washing and Beijing that has been simmering since 2018, when Trump announced the imposition of 25 percent tariffs on Chinese goods worth $50 billion in order to fix the US-Chinese trade deficit.