Huawei Technologies’ founder and chief executive said Saturday that the growth of the Chinese tech giant “may slow, but only slightly,” because of recent U.S. restrictions.
In remarks to the Japanese press and reported by Nikkei Asian Review, Ren Zhengfei reiterated that the Chinese telecom equipment maker had not violated any law.
“It is expected that Huawei’s growth may slow, but only slightly,” Ren said in his first official comments after the U.S. restrictions, adding that the company’s annual revenue growth might undershoot 20%.
On Thursday, Washington put Huawei, one of China’s biggest and most successful companies, on a trade blacklist that could make it extremely difficult for Huawei to do business with U.S. companies. China slammed the decision, saying it would take steps to protect its companies.
Trade, security issues
The developments surrounding Huawei come at a time of trade tensions between Washington and Beijing and amid concerns from the United States that Huawei’s smartphones and network equipment could be used by China to spy on Americans, allegations the company has repeatedly denied.
A similar U.S. ban on China’s ZTE Corp. had almost crippled business for the smaller Huawei rival early last year before the curb was lifted.
The U.S. Commerce Department said Friday that it might soon scale back restrictions on Huawei.
Ren said the company was prepared for such a step and that Huawei would be “fine” even if U.S. smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. and other American suppliers would not sell chips to the company.
Huawei’s chip arm HiSilicon said Friday that it had long been prepared for the possibility of being denied U.S. chips and technology, and that it was able to ensure a steady supply of most products.
The Huawei founder said that the company would not be taking instructions from the U.S. government.
“We will not change our management at the request of the U.S. or accept monitoring, as ZTE has done,” he said.
In January, U.S. prosecutors unsealed an indictment accusing the Chinese company of engaging in bank fraud to obtain embargoed U.S. goods and services in Iran and to move money out of the country via the international banking system.
Ren’s daughter, Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada in December in connection with the indictment. Meng, who was released on bail, remains in Vancouver and is fighting extradition. She has maintained her innocence.
Ren has previously said his daughter’s arrest was politically motivated.