Huawei founder calls for decentralisation to survive US trade sanctions


Huawei founder calls for decentralisation to survive US trade sanctions

Huawei Technologies Co. must decentralise its operations, simplify product lines, focus on generating profit, and maintain pay levels for three to five years to survive US trade restrictions, according to a recently published speech from company founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei.

Ren made the speech last June, but Huawei only made it public on Friday, two days after the inauguration of US President Joe Biden. The Shenzhen-based telecoms equipment giant has faced many obstacles in the past six months: the company was banned from accessing products related to US technologies and services, it sold its budget smartphone brand Honor, and it doubled its efforts in new business areas such as cloud services and smart cars.

Ren, 76, said in the speech that US restrictions have made it hard for Huawei to implement its original globalisation plans and that the company was forced to make its own production lines.

“There’s a big mismatch between our ability and strategy,” Ren said. “It’s our weak link, and we are forced to start from the beginning like elementary school students.”


Ren’s speech was given in his typical style, combining corporate strategies, military terms, poetic expressions and philosophical language. The Chinese entrepreneur, whose business empire is at the centre of the storm engulfing the US-China technology rivalry, said Huawei will not be defeated or become resentful of the US.