AP/Evan Vucci/Vincent Yu/Business Insider composite
- Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei he would "ignore Trump" and may not answer his phone call should he try to negotiate, according to Bloomberg.
- Zhengfei’s answer came in response to a question about Huawei’s possible involvement in a potential trade deal between the US and China following remarks from President Trump.
- The comments come after Huawei was placed on a trade blacklist that would require US companies to obtain government permission before doing business with the Chinese tech giant.
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Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei has said he would ignore President Trump and may not answer a phone call from him, according to Bloomberg.
The comments come after the Trump administration placed Huawei on a trade blacklist that would prevent US companies from working with the Chinese tech giant without obtaining government permission.
President Trump recently said that Huawei could be involved in a trade deal with China while also calling the company "very dangerous" at the same time. When asked about Huawei’s possible role in a potential trade deal between the US and China, Zhengfei was dismissive during an interview with Bloomberg Television.
"The US has never bought products from us," he said. "Even if the US wants to buy our products in the future, I may not sell to them. There’s no need for negotiation. I will ignore Trump, then with whom can he negotiate? If he calls me, I may not answer."
Huawei, the world’s second largest smartphone maker, was recently placed on a trade blacklist, prompting companies such as Google, Qualcomm, and Intel to suspend operations with the company. Losing Google is an especially critical blow to the firm, considering its Android software powers 85% of smartphones worldwide.
Analysts have said in recent weeks that these new government requirements could spark backlash against Apple in China, which accounted for 12% of the country’s smartphone market share as of the fourth quarter of 2018, according to Counterpoint Research. But Zhengfei said he would be "the first to protest" if this were the case during the same interview with Bloomberg Television.
"Apple is the world’s leading company," he said. "If there was no Apple, there would be no mobile internet. If there was no Apple to help show us the world, we would not see the beauty of this world."
Zhengfei has since said that he expects the impact on Huawei’s business to be minimal, saying that growth will slow "only slightly" when speaking with Nikkei Asian Review. The company has been preparing for a scenario in which it may not be able to work with US tech companies.
Huawei has been building its own mobile operating system to replace Google’s Android, which the company recently said will be launching as soon as next month. Huawei is also continuing to produce its own chips to offset the impact of the recent US sanctions.
When speaking with Bloomberg Television, Zhengfei likened the situation to "a hole in the airplane" when asked about how Huawei plans to continue making products without help from firms like Google, Intel, and Qualcomm among others. He also said that half of the chips Huawei uses are from US companies.
"We are working to fix the hole," he said. "But the airplane is still able to fly."
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