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Huawei founder strikes defiant tone in interview, says the US ‘can’t crush us’

Published Feb 19th, 2019 6:35PM EST
Huawei founder interview
Image: LetsGoDigital

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In his first interview since the arrest of his daughter in December, Huawei’s until-now reclusive founder struck a defiant tone in response to questions from the BBC — with the billionaire businessman promising the news service that there’s “no way the US can crush us.”

“The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced,” Ren Zhengei told the BBC, adding that “Even if (the US can) persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit.

“If the lights go out in the West, the East will still shine. And if the North goes dark, there is still the South. America doesn’t represent the world. America only represents a portion of the world.”

It was his first such interview in recent months and something of a defiant response in the wake of continued US pressure on allies to shun Huawei products and technology. It also comes just two months after Ren’s daughter, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada at the behest of US authorities over a litany of fraud-related accusations.

The US in recent weeks also made public a series of criminal charges against Huawei, which many Western governments like the US assume is a de facto arm of the Chinese government. In response to that point, Ren has granted his first TV interview with an American journalist which will air on Wednesday during CBS This Morning, with Ren offering this response to the show’s co-host Bianna Golodryga when she asked if Huawei works with the Chinese government:

“For the past 30 years,” he said, according to pre-released notes from CBS about the interview, “we have never done that, and the next 30 years to come, we will never do that.”

What about the government adding backdoors into your products, perhaps without your knowledge?

“It is not possible,” Ren replied. “Because across our entire organization, we’ve stressed once and again that we will never do that. If we did have that, with America’s advanced technology, they would found that already. So that proves we do not have it … Hypotheses are not evidence. Evidence is based on facts. If you have doubts or concerns, it’s normal.”

Such public interactions may be starting to have at least a small effect in the company’s favor. In recent days, for example, British intelligence officials seemed to break from their US counterparts, offering that they suspect they’ll be able to manage any cybersecurity concerns while using Huawei products like its 5G equipment.

Huawei is also pressing forward with its business plans, despite the spate of bad news:

The company will be unveiling its 2019 P30 Android phones at an event in Paris next month, as the tweet above and teaser video reveals.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.