#Huawei reacts to Google ban

| May 21, 2019

A top Huawei official has angrily condemned the “unprecedented and extreme” action against his company by the US administration. Speaking in Brussels on Tuesday (21 May), Abraham Liu, Huawei’s Chief Representative to the EU Institutions, said Huawei, the world’s second biggest smartphone maker, was “ready to go the extra mile” in order to satisfy ongoing about security and safety concerns of its activities.

Huawei’s Chief Representative to the EU Institutions Abraham Liu 

He was reacting to the news this week that Google had barred Huawei from some updates to the Android operating system. The move by the tech giant comes after the Trump administration added Huawei to a list of companies that American firms cannot trade with unless they have a licence.

Liu, the company’s most senior official in Brussels, sought to reassure his company’s customers by stating that it was taking unspecified moves to mitigate against the impact of Google’s decision. He also said Huawei was currently involved in “ongoing discussions” with Google in an effort to resolve the issue.

In a robust defence of the company, Liu said, “Huawei has been respecting all applicable laws and regulations. Now Huawei is becoming the victim of the bullying by the US administration. This is not just an attack against Huawei. It is an attack on the liberal, rules-based order. This is dangerous. Now it is happening to Huawei. Tomorrow it can happen to any other international company. Can we shut the eyes to such behaviour?

“If we do that, what are the consequences? I ask everyone to consider the significance of this,” added Liu. He said: “Anyone who cherishes the rule of law should be worried and alarmed at what is going on. Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence? I repeat: Huawei has respected all applicable rules and regulations. This has been the cornerstone of our global success.”

In a Q and A with Brussels-based reporters, Liu said the company’s past collaboration with Google had been a “win-win” for both sides, adding: “We are doing everything possible to mitigate against the impact of this action (by Google and the US).”

He added: “The pressure being applied now by the US is unprecedented and extreme. I stress that we are a purely private company and I firmly believe that our customers and clients will make their own decisions and judgements.”

He believes the consequences of the Google ban for existing Huawei smartphone users will be strictly limited and that it is “working on what to do” regarding future devices.” Liu also stressed the company’s ongoing commitment to Europe, saying, “You cannot choose where you are born and the fact is that we are headquartered in China. But we employ 12,200 people in Europe, 70 per cent of them locally hired. We have been here for 20 years now and this commitment continues.”

This also applies to its investment in the next generation 5G mobile networks, he said, adding, “We want Europe to be in the vanguard of the 5G revolution and that is one reason why we have launched a campaign to raise awareness of the huge opportunities offered by 5G. This is timed to coincide with the European elections this week.”

“We are at a crossroads and 5G and other new technologies will bring tremendous opportunities. We understand the security concerns of some governments and are ready to the extra mile to satisfy these.”

He said that most EU governments had a “different mindset” to the US, citing France as an example. “It recently said that it had no intention of a tech war with China. A similar pragmatic approach has been taken by the UK and that is the best way forward.”

Stressing the company’s ‘European Way’, he said Huawei’s 5G has been co-developed by Europeans and is tailor-made for Europe’s needs and challenges. “Huawei’s 5G solution is not just the best on the market. But it is to a large extent a European product; and it’s tailor-made for Europe’s needs. Huawei has been operating in Europe for nearly 20 years. We are pleased that Europe is coming out with its co-ordinated approach to 5G. The European Union has proved its capacity of bringing European countries together to develop some of the most advanced and comprehensive laws like GDPR. Europe should continue to drive that agenda forward. The EU should make decisions for the benefit of Europe and its citizens,” said Liu.

Liu was speaking at the company’s cybersecurity centre where, in conjunction with the Press Club Brussels Europe, it also launched a new Europe-China Journalism Award. “The Press Club Brussels Europe builds bridges between media, people and nations,” said Press Club Brussels Europe Founding Chairwoman Maria Laura Franciosi.

Huawei also launched its new website huawei.eu, which has been redesigned to give it a state-of-the-art look. It presents the company’s priorities in the run-up to the roll-out of 5G networks and technologies over the next few years.

Huawei.eu now features more creative use of photography, upgraded news and social media sections, a dedicated section for Huawei-organised events in Europe, a new channel of animated videos, and easy-to-locate explanatory pages on the current key drivers in ICT.

Separately, Huawei has issued a statement on Android saying: “Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefited both users and the industry. Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally.We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”

Regarding the US decision to restrict Huawei doing business in the USA, the statement said: “Huawei is the unparalleled leader in 5G. We are ready and willing to engage with the US government and come up with effective measures to ensure product security. Restricting Huawei from doing business in the US will not make the US more secure or stronger; instead, this will only serve to limit the US to inferior yet more expensive alternatives, leaving the US lagging behind in 5G deployment, and eventually harming the interests of US companies and consumers. In addition, unreasonable restrictions will infringe upon Huawei’s rights and raise other serious legal issues.”

Adding Huawei to the entity list in the US would restrict its ability to procure in the US, it says.
It states: “Huawei is against the decision made by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the US Department of Commerce. This decision is in no one’s interest. It will do significant economic harm to the American companies with which Huawei does business, affect tens of thousands of American jobs, and disrupt the current collaboration and mutual trust that exist on the global supply chain.Huawei will seek remedies immediately and find a resolution to this matter. We will also proactively endeavor to mitigate the impacts of this incident.”

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