Founder Ren Zhengfei says Huawei ‘racing to develop’ new technologies amid coronavirus pandemic


  • Huawei was on the front foot before the coronavirus crisis gripped China because of pressure from the US government

  • Pandemic has not slowed Ren’s commitment to develop own technology and remain world’s largest telco equipment supplier

Iris Deng

Published: 6:00am, 26 Mar, 2020

Updated: 8:15pm, 26 Mar, 2020

While the coronavirus pandemic may have forced many companies in China and around the world to hit the pause button on business operations, engineers at Huawei Technologies have been working round the clock to combat the crisis.

The world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier and China’s biggest smartphone maker has been motivated by a sense of mission, said Ren Zhengfei, founder and chief executive of Huawei, as he sat down for an interview with the South China Morning Post this week.

Over 20,000 scientists, experts and engineers worked overtime during the Lunar New Year holiday, because we’re racing to develop new [technologies],” Ren said, referring to the work in progress as “something which will keep us ahead of global competition”, without revealing further details.

The company was on the front foot before the coronavirus crisis gripped China and spread around the world because of pressure from the US government on its market-leading 5G network gear business.

The US will continue to increase sanctions on us, and we will have to complete [the new technologies] before that happens,” Ren, 75, said in a video interview from his Shenzhen office on Tuesday, the first he has given since the coronavirus outbreak shut down large parts of the world.

Aside from the US sanctions, Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and Ren’s daughter by his first marriage, is still in Canada awaiting a hearing to be extradited to the US, where she faces a bank fraud charge. Ren said he misses his elder daughter, whom he last spoke with by phone in late January during the Lunar New Year holiday. Ren is confident that “there shouldn’t be a worst-case scenario” regarding Meng’s trial.

I believe in the openness, fairness and justice of the Canadian legal system … the US intelligence has spent over a decade to find faults on our side and came up with no evidence today, which means we have been restrained in our own behaviours,” Ren said.

In May last year, Washington added Huawei and 68 of its non-US affiliates to a trade blacklist, officially called the Entity List, accusing the company of being a threat to national security, something which Huawei has repeatedly denied.

The action restricts Huawei’s ability to buy hardware, software and services from its American hi-tech suppliers without approval from the US government. This includes Google mobile services, used on its handsets for international markets, and key components in its next-generation mobile network base stations.

While the US has since granted five licence extensions to Huawei that allowed it temporary access to American suppliers, Trump earlier this month signed legislation to bar the country’s telecoms carriers from using US subsidies to purchase network equipment from Huawei.

The Trump administration has also continued to urge its allies in Europe to ditch Huawei in their 5G mobile network development plans.

It’s not a problem for us to survive as a company, but it’s questionable whether we can keep our leading position,” Ren said. “We won’t be able to lead the world in the next three to five years if we cannot develop our own technology.”

Huawei will step up its investment in research and development, with the 2020 budget surpassing US$20 billion, up from US$15 billion last year, according to Ren.

However, Ren also noted that a complete de-Americanisation would be “impossible” for Huawei. “US firms will also need [Huawei as a client] to survive,” Ren said, adding that no one can be spared from the situation as a result of globalisation.

Huawei’s ambition to weather US sanctions, however, has been put under further pressure by the outbreak of Covid-19, which started to affect China in January. The viral disease has since spread around the world, forcing lockdown of communities and wreaking economic havoc.

It has morphed into a pandemic that has spread to 170 countries and regions, and as of Monday had forced more than one-fifth of the world’s population to stay in their homes.

Ren is confident that Huawei can pull through the crisis.

Neither the US sanctions nor the pandemic had a major impact on us,” Ren said. “We believe the impact is minimal, and we can pull through it.”

Huawei has resumed more than 90 per cent of its production and development operations, Ren said, adding that the company has also kept its supply chain mostly intact by helping provide its partners with protective gear to keep production going.

Maintenance service personnel around the world have also been working to ensure that communications remain uninterrupted, Ren said. “The world needs internet service [even more] as the pandemic accelerated,” he said.

Other than Hubei, the province at the epicentre of the outbreak in China, none of the company’s global workforce has been infected by the coronavirus. Those who were afflicted in Hubei are now recovering, Ren said, without divulging numbers.

Although Europe, Huawei’s most lucrative market outside China, has now been gravely affected by Covid-19, Ren expects demand for its network gear there to remain strong on the back of peoples’ need for online services.

New technologies such as tele-health, online learning and remote working have showed to the world their usefulness in preventing disease from spreading, as well as the importance of network connections,” Ren said. “Even when the West is feeling the mounting impact of the coronavirus, most of our projects can actually enhance their capabilities [during the outbreak]. There is a demand we need to meet.”

(Corrects in the sixth paragraph to say Meng faces bank fraud charge in the US)

Source: SCMP “Founder Ren Zhengfei says Huawei ‘racing to develop’ new technologies amid coronavirus pandemic”

Note: This is SCMP’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Huawei Hisilicon 5nm Kirin chip will be mass-produced in August


Efe Udin March 14, 2020

Chinese manufacturing giant, Huawei, is currently working on its latest Hisilicon chip which uses the 5nm manufacturing process. After the Spring Festival holiday, there will be new smartphones. Thus information on Huawei’s next-generation Kirin processors is becoming a focal point. Today, an industry insider claims that the Hisilicon 5nm Kirin processor has been verified in Dongguan, Beijing, and other places. The report says that this chip will commence mass-production / delivery in August.

According to previous speculations, Huawei will use the 5nm process to mass-produce the Kirin 1020 chip. This CPU is expected to be available in the third quarter of this year. Huawei Kirin 1020 will use ARM Cortex-A78 architecture. Thanks to the 5nm process, Kirin 1020 can accommodate 171.3 million transistors per square millimeter. Its performance is 50% higher than that of Kirin 990.

In other reports, TSMC will begin mass production of 5nm chips in April. The 5nm process is a new generation of chip manufacturing technology following the 7nm process that was mass-produced in 2018. However, what is not clear is the company’s chip that TSMC will mass-produce in April.

According to Huawei’s itinerary, the new Kirin flagship processor will probably arrive this fall. Also, the Huawei Mate 40 series will also be the first to use the Kirin 1020 processor.

Source: Gizchina “Huawei Hisilicon 5nm Kirin chip will be mass-produced in August”

Note: This is Gizchina’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


U.S. lawmakers seek to curb Huawei’s access to U.S. banks: document


Alexandra Alper March 12, 2020 / 8:51 PM / 2 days ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers plan to unveil a bill on Thursday that could be used to block Huawei Technologies Ltd from accessing U.S. banks for certain transactions, in a bid to thwart the Chinese telecoms giant amid frustration over the failure of prior sanctions to curb its business.

The bill, with sponsors including top Senate Democrat Charles Schumer, Republican Senator Tom Cotton and House Republican Mike Gallagher, would ban U.S. firms from taking part in “significant” transactions with foreign companies that produce 5G telecommunications technology and engage in industrial espionage.

If the bill were passed and Huawei designated, the company would be shunned by U.S. banks in certain dealings with customers worldwide, since most dollar payments clear through U.S. financial institutions.

It is time for the Trump administration to take swift and forceful action to block Huawei from accessing the U.S. financial system,” Schumer said in a statement, adding that allowing China to dominate global 5G networks through Huawei poses a threat to national security. Huawei did not respond to a request for comment.

The legislation is part of a broader campaign to crack down on Huawei, the top producer of telecoms equipment, since the company has continued to thrive despite American sanctions.

Citing national security concerns, the Trump administration placed Huawei on a blacklist known as the “entity list” last May, forcing some firms to seek a special license to sell to it.


Huawei P40 Pro PE specs leak: huge battery, loads of cameras, 5G, much more


by Joshua Swingle

@joshuaswingle

Mar 13, 2020, 11:50 AM

Huawei is planning to announce three new flagship smartphones later this month. The most interesting model will undoubtedly be the Huawei P40 Pro Premium Edition, which is expected to take on the Galaxy S20 Ultra and is the subject of today’s leak.

Incredible cameras that could set an industry standard

Chinese website IT Home has spotted an early retail listing for the smartphone on a South Korean website. It contains renders of the flagship which corroborate its design and a complete spec sheet that reveals everything customers can expect.

Leading the way on the outside will be a massive 6.7-inch OLED display complete with a 3160 x 1440p resolution and support for a 120Hz refresh rate. It also boasts curved edges on either side and an extremely wide punch hole.

To make the smartphone look a bit more unique, though, Huawei has implemented quad-edge glass that curves over the top and bottom of the front panel.

The Huawei P40 Pro Premium Edition’s rear looks quite a bit more generic, despite being carved out of ceramic, because of the rectangular camera module. Nevertheless, the design is arguably better than that of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Huawei has justified the sheer size of the camera bump by including a whopping five sensors. The accompanying spec sheet suggests a powerful 52-megapixel camera will lead the way alongside an impressive 40-megapixel ultra-wide-angle shooter.

A 3D Time-of-Flight sensor for better bokeh imagery is also part of the package alongside an 8-megapixel camera that’s believed to be a telephoto shooter. It should support 3x optical zoom.

Last on the list is a powerful periscope zoom camera that isn’t detailed. Fortunately, previous leaks have revealed it will support an incredible 10x optical zoom, meaning it could produce noticeably clearer photos than the Galaxy S20 Ultra at equivalent zoom levels.

As for the selfie camera experience, Huawei has apparently implemented a 32-megapixel selfie shooter alongside a 32-megapixel ultra-wide-angle equivalent for group shots. A Time-of-Flight sensor is also present, suggesting a more secure Face Unlock experience will be available.

512GB of storage, 5G support, ginormous battery

The inside of the Huawei P40 Pro Premium Edition is no less interesting. Powering the flagship is the high-end Kirin 990 5G chipset, which guarantees support for 5G networks as standard.

It’s coupled with 12GB of RAM and a whopping 512GB of internal storage which may be further expandable via the company’s nanoSD card format, although that isn’t yet confirmed. It’s unclear if other variants will be available.

Backing all of this up is going to be Android 10 and EMUI 10 straight out of the box. Unfortunately, as a direct result of the US trade ban imposed upon Huawei, the P40 Pro Premium Edition won’t be shipping with Google apps and services on board.

Buyers of the smartphone will instead have to rely on the App Gallery app store, which is missing key apps such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

As for the battery, Huawei has apparently included a ginormous 5,500mAh cell inside the Huawei P40 Pro Premium Edition. The best part is that it reportedly supports 50W fast charging and 27W fast wireless charging, meaning you’ll be able to fully charge it in no time.

Huawei P40 Pro Premium Edition announcement and price

The Huawei P40 Pro Premium Edition will go official on Thursday, March 26, via an online event alongside the standard Huawei P40 Pro and the cheaper Huawei P40.

Shipments are expected to begin in early April and the smartphone could be priced anywhere between €1,199 and €1,299 in Europe, slightly less than the €1,349 Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Source: phonearena.com “Huawei P40 Pro PE specs leak: huge battery, loads of cameras, 5G, much more”

Note: This is phoneearena.com’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


US, UK Agree to ‘Further’ Restrict Huawei, Defense Secretary Says


By Patrick Tucker March 5, 2020

But it’s not clear whether any actual changes emerged from Thursday’s meeting between the top U.S. and British defense leaders.

The United States and the United Kingdom have agreed to “further” reduce Huawei’s presence in telecom infrastructure, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a Pentagon press conference Thursday.

Esper described a lunch conversation with U.K. Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace on the subject as “candid,” without elaborating on what form the “further’ reduction would take. He highlighted the importance of the intelligence-sharing agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom, and other Five Eyes partners.

Opening critical allied networks to Chinese vendors that ultimately answer to the [Chinese] Communist Party could allow Beijing to access, disrupt, manipulate and misuse vital information, thus jeopardizing the integrity and strength of the NATO alliance,” he said.

Esper said U.S. officials want to work with the United Kingdom on “a way forward that results in the exclusion of untrusted vendor components for 5G networks” in the UK and elsewhere.

Both secretaries said their nations’ disagreement about Huawei was not over the nature of the threat of Chinese-manufactured telecom equipment, but about the best ways to deal with the threat.

The United States has pushed for an outright and total ban of gear from Huawei and other Chinese telecom providers.

The U.K. government has taken a less extreme position. While Huawei is banned from networks that the government considers to essential to national security, such as for government use or infrastructure, the government has allowed Huawei to take a position in the commercial market, a position capped at 35 percent of that market, with the ultimate goal of eventually cutting them out of the market entirely, a position Wallace referred to as “Ban, cap, and cut.”

The U.K. has a lot of experience probing Chinese telecommunications gear. In 2010, the government established the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre, or HCSEC, Oversight Board to better understand its threats to customer data and national security. Last March, the Center published a report that described “serious and systematic defects in Huawei’s software engineering and cyber security competence.”

It wasn’t immediately clear that the secretaries had reached any actual change in their relative positions during the meeting. The Defense Department and U.K. Embassy did not immediately respond to request for comment on the question.

Source: Defense One “US, UK Agree to ‘Further’ Restrict Huawei, Defense Secretary Says”

Note: This is Defense One’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Forbes’ Concerns Huawei May Replace Chinese Search for Google’s


Forbes expresses those concerns in its article titled “This Is Huawei’s Alarming New Surprise For Google: Here’s Why You Should Be Concerned”. Refusing Huawei’s use of Google’s operation system may cause Huawei’s replacement of its mobile services, especially its search, for Google’s as smartphone users will get Chinese search results.

Moreover, the article’s major concern is described by the writer in the following passage: “I have commented before on the unintended consequences of the U.S. blacklist—Google and the U.S. losing their global influence on mobile standards, the launch of a third-way competitor to full-fat Android and iOS, the potential for Huawei to carve itself a hugely dominant position controlling that new alternative. It has not yet been reported this way, but this search news could be the most alarming aspect yet.”

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Forbes’ article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2020/03/01/this-is-huaweis-alarming-new-surprise-for-google-heres-why-its-critical/#56b708666f5a.


US Helpless in Killing Huawei as Europe Refuses to Cooperate


CNBC says in its article “Trump official compares Huawei to ‘the Mafia’ as White House works on 5G battle plan” yesterday that as a senior US official denounced China’s Huawei as “the Mafia”, CNBC believes that White House has ratcheted up its war of words against Huawei. However as the official was not willing to disclose his name, it is difficult to determine whether what the article says is authentic.

However, the article is believable about Trump’s angry phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the wake of the U.K.’s announcement that it would allow Huawei products in its 5G networks.

CNBC’s article is also believable about US New acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell’s suggestion that “the United States would cut off intelligence cooperation with Germany if that country doesn’t keep Huawei out of its telecommunications network.”

The war of words against Huawei seems formidable but is not effective as US allies would not do as the US tells it to.

Sorry, the US does not seem powerful enough to kill Huawei.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on CNBC’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/25/trump-official-calls-huawei-mafia-as-white-house-works-on-5g-battle-plan.html.