An internal corporate transcript of a speech made by Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei (pictured) accused ‘certain’ US politicians of wanting to ‘kill’ the world’s largest network manufacturer, reports Reuters.
Wave after wave of severe U.S. sanctions against Huawei has led us to finally understand, certain American politicians want to kill us, not just correct us.
The speech was made during a ‘farewell party’ for employees of Honor, the smartphone manufacturer which has been spun off from Huawei as a result of US sanctions. During the speech Ren emphasized that the companies were now competitors, and that Honor employees should strive to act independently and seek to surpass Huawei in the marketplace. Honor-branded phones represent approximately a quarter of Huawei’s recent sales. It was announced in November that Honor would be acquired by a new entity formed by its agents and dealers. The change of ownership means the company should be able to resume sourcing components that can no longer be purchased by Huawei.
The South China Morning Post suggested that the speech was emotionally charged. Ren spoke about ‘millions’ of jobs being threatened by US sanctions. It is unclear where this number comes from as Huawei’s own website states their total workforce is slightly under 200,000.
Ren’s daughter Meng Wanzhou, who is also the CFO of Huawei, is currently under arrest in Canada pending her extradition to the USA on charges of fraud. It is alleged she misled HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, with the result that the bank broke US sanctions relating to Iran’s nuclear and weapons programs. Al Jazeera reports that Meng’s lawyers recently argued the Canadian police had covered up a technical breach in the way she had been arrested, and hence that she should be released.
Huawei robustly denies it is under the influence of the Chinese government. Two Canadians, businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig, were arrested in China on espionage charges nine days after the arrest of Meng Wanzhou. Chinese authorities claim the timing of the arrests was a pure coincidence whilst also routinely choosing to mention the name of Huawei’s CFO when Western journalists ask them about Spavor and Kovrig.