Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei on Tuesday rejected claims his company is used by the Chinese government to spy and said he missed his daughter and Huawei CFO, who is being held by Canadian authorities.
Ren denied suggestions that Huawei aids the Chinese government in espionage, saying it has no regular contact with Beijing. He also called Donald Trump “a great president” and said he’ll take a wait-and-see approach as to whether the U.S. leader will intervene on behalf of Huawei finance chief Meng Wanzhou. Meng is in Canada facing extradition to the U.S. on allegations of helping defraud banks to avoid sanctions on Iran.
“I love my country, I support the Communist Party. But I will not do anything to harm the world,” the 74-year-old said in a roundtable briefing with foreign reporters. “I don’t see a close connection between my personal political beliefs and the businesses of Huawei.”
Ren said he would decline any request from Beijing for sensitive information on its clients and stressed the potential for cooperation with the U.S. and Trump’s administration. And he played down Huawei’s role in current tensions between Washington and Beijing, which have rattled investors and corporations worldwide.
Ren also played down the risk Huawei faced from being blocked from the rollout of 5G telecoms networks by some countries.
“It’s always been the case, you can’t work with everyone ... we’ll shift our focus to better serve countries that welcome Huawei’” he said, adding the company had 30 contracts globally to build 5G networks.
Ren, a former military officer who founded Huawei in 1987 and largely keeps a low profile, said he owned 1.14 percent of the company’s shares.
Last week, a Huawei sales executive was arrested in Poland accused of spying and was later fired.
Despite the potential impact on his business, Ren said he was confident Huawei’s revenue would grow to $125 billion in 2019 from more than $100 billion last year.
Huawei is the world’s biggest producer of telecommunications equipment. The company currently generates more sales than Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. combined. In 2018, Huawei overtook Apple in smartphone sales.
The Chinese company also holds about a 10th of the essential patents for 5G wireless networks, a 2018 document from the Department of the Treasury showed.