The founder of Chinese telecommunications equipment giant Huawei has said the United States cannot defeat his company’s global ambitions.
“There is no way the US can crush us,” Ren Zhengfei told the BBC in an interview on Monday.
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“The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced. Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit.”
Washington has repeatedly accused Chinese companies of stealing proprietary technology to gain a competitive edge, something Beijing has denied. The accusations are among several at the heart of a major trade dispute between the world’s top two economies.
On Saturday, US Vice President Mike Pence told a security conference in Munich that the Chinese government requires Huawei and other Chinese telecommunications firms to give it access to any data that goes through their networks. He warned Washington’s allies against using equipment made by Huawei and its peers.
But some of those countries appear to be less concerned than the US.
Citing unnamed sources, the Financial Times reported on Sunday that British intelligence services believe any threats posed by Huawei equipment in next-generation – so-called 5G – mobile networks can be managed.
Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her country’s security services have not made a final decision on whether to allow telecoms provider Spark to use Huawei equipment in building its 5G networks.
Local media quoted Ardern as saying that the final decision would be made independently of the US and others.
In an interview with international media in January, Ren denied that the Chinese government forces companies to allow it to access users’ data.
In his latest statements, the BBC also quoted Ren as saying he objects to Washington’s accusations against his daughter, Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou.
Meng was arrested in the Canadian city of Vancouver on December 1 on charges that the company violated US sanctions against Iran and was involved in stealing trade secrets.
Freed on bail, she is expected to be the subject of an extradition request by the US.
“This kind of politically motivated act is not acceptable,” Ren said in the interview, adding, however, that he would let the courts settle the matter.