One has to give credit where it is due for Chinese brands and businesses. Just around three decades after the Communist government started allowing private enterprises again, these companies would grow and expand to help make China an economic superpower by the start of the 21st Century. Among the businesses that thrived in this rocket-like rise is Huawei, a telecom and consumer electronics company that rose to international prominence with its internet tech and smartphones. But the US government had been leery of Huawei, suspecting that its products enabled Chinese government surveillance. In the escalating US-China trade standoff, Huawei was one of the first companies to see its products hobbled.
President Donald Trump had initially signed an Executive Order restricting US companies from doing business with Huawei without government permits. However as Fortune tells it, the actual implementation did not happen until trade talks between Washington and Beijing broke down anew. The banning of open business with Huawei came in the wake of increased tax levies on Chinese trade goods worth $200 billion, an action that China warned will be reciprocated in kind. The US Department of Commerce on Monday May 20 had given Huawei-using American broadband providers a 90-day grace period to make all necessary changes to their equipment.
The consequences sound electronically catastrophic on paper. Google according to CNN has had to block the licensing of the Android MOS on new Huawei devices, although current Huawei models released before the restrictions have been unbothered. That should come as good news for many Huawei users outside the US, who upon hearing the news initially feared that they may not be able to access Google and associated apps on their Huawei smartphones. In addition, the US Commerce Department did give a temporary license for Google-Huawei business dealings that will last for three months without restriction.
Huawei itself has been aware of the potential for trouble stemming from the US-China trade war. Should Google-Android support finally be cut, meaning no more Play Store, they plan to build up their in-house App Gallery as something of an alternative. The Huawei App Gallery is present in the more recent Huawei-made devices such as the Honor smartphone line. The one snag in this contingency is that the business ban not only restricts Google in the future but all US tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and so on. Nevertheless, Huawei has publicly assured its investors and customers that the company can weather the storm wrought by the Trump-initiated US ban.
As Huawei founder/CEO and former People’s Liberation Army officer Ren Zhengfei said in a TV interview with Chinese state network CCTV, “The current practice of American politicians underestimates our strength.”
Image courtesy of Washington Post