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Huawei founder: Without Apple, ‘we would not see the beauty of this world’

Published May 27th, 2019 2:42PM EDT
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As calls have mounted in China for the central government to officially retaliate against Apple as a way to strike back over US trade tensions and over the increasing ostracization of Huawei, the billionaire founder of one of China’s leading consumer electronics brands insists he’s squarely against going that route.

In a new interview with Bloomberg, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei was effusive in his praise of the iPhone maker, describing Apple per a translation of his remarks as “my teacher” and that “As a student, why should I oppose my teacher? I would never do that.”

“Apple is the world’s leading company,” Zhengfei continued during the interview, which also touched on the emergency maneuvers Huawei is taking to deal with being cut off from smartphone component suppliers, as well as from Google. “If there were 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.”

His praise of the company followed a question he was asked about whether he thought China hitting at Apple might be a kind of ace in the hole for the government, given how important a market China is for Apple. “That will not happen, first of all,” Zhengfei insisted. “And second of all, if that happens, I’ll be the first to protest. Apple is my teacher (and) it is advancing in front of us.”

As we and others have reported on for more than a week now, the US officially blacklisted Huawei back on May 17, accusing it of being basically a proxy for Chinese authorities in Beijing. In light of that action, Google then followed suit and promptly cut off Huawei from access to its Android mobile operating system, which in turn was followed by Huawei being further cut off from component suppliers.

That sequence of events has been described as crippling, and perhaps worse, for the number two smartphone vendor in the world which had been vocal about wanting to ascend to the top of the industry in relatively short order.

Naturally, Zhengfei decided to level some blistering criticism at President Trump, over his role in prolonging the US trade tensions as well as the decision to blacklist Huawei. Zhengfei had tried a different route a few months ago, praising Trump as “a great president,” but is now apparently switching tactics. “I see his tweets and think it’s laughable because they’re self-contradictory,” the Huawei boss told Bloomberg. “How did he become a master of the art of the deal?”

And about the contention that Huawei aggressively steals technology, Zhengfei added this:

“I stole the American technologies from tomorrow. The U.S. doesn’t even have those technologies. We are ahead of the U.S. If we were behind, there would be no need for Trump to strenuously attack us.”

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.