June 19, 2019
In an interview with CNBC on June 19, 2019, Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei says the tech giant will overcome U.S. sanctions. He predicts revenue will remain around US$100 billion and R&D funding will not be cut. Mr. Ren says he welcomes a phone call from Donald Trump and believes hardships will only make Huawei stronger.
Q1 Deirdre Bosa: Mr. Ren. Yesterday, President Trump tweeted that he had a conversation with your president, Xi Jinping. The US sees Huawei as being at the center of the trade war. How do you see it?
Ren: First, Huawei has virtually no presence in the US, so the trade relations between China and the US have nothing to do with us. Second, if we compare China and the US to two basketballs, Huawei is just like a small sesame seed stuck between them. There's no way we can buffer the relationship between these two countries. I believe the US is a country ruled by law. Ultimately, we will settle our issues with the US through the courts. We have confidence that the court will reach fair decisions.
Q2 Deirdre Bosa: As you said, you do not have much of a presence in the US. You don't want to be at the center of the trade war, but you have been caught in the middle. Do you have any hopes that when President Trump potentially meets with President Xi Jinping at the G20, Huawei will be a topic of conversation?
Ren: I don't think we are so important that these two great men would want to talk about us. This seems impractical to me.
Deirdre Bosa: That has been the case, though. President Trump spends a lot of time talking about Huawei, as do other US officials.
Ren: It's because they are in good health and have energy to burn. They must have a lot to attend to. I feel grateful for their attention; they flatter us. We don't deserve such attention.
Deirdre Bosa: You may not think you deserve high attention, but the fact is that, in the US, a lot of politicians, President Trump included, spend a lot of time talking about Huawei, your company.
Ren: Maybe it's because we can't be beaten, no matter how hard they try. It is possible that we will survive for a long time. If they continue to care about us over the next few years, will they get tired out? We have been communicating with the US through different channels. The US is a country ruled by law. Legal proceedings are also a valid means of communication. Through this means, the US needs to present its evidence in court. We do as well, so that the court can decide whether we are right or wrong and to what extent we may be wrong. This is what really matters. I don't think we deserve to be treated as a bargaining chip in their negotiations, and I don't want to be a bargaining chip either.
Q3 Deirdre Bosa: You may not be willing, but it doesn't change the fact that President Trump has said you are a bargaining chip and the so-called attack has already affected your business. You said earlier this week that, it would hit your revenue by 30 billion US dollars.
Ren: The 30-billion-dollar decrease in our predicted sales is just a small thing for us. Our sales will still exceed 100 billion US dollars this year. This has little impact on our business operations. We will mainly cut down on some non-core products, so the US sanctions won't have significant impact on us.
Deirdre Bosa: I think many people would call 30 billion US dollars material impact. It's nearly a third of your revenue last year. This affects your employees who are shareholders, does it not?
Ren: No. According to this year's plan, our revenue was expected to reach 135 billion US dollars. Even if our revenue does drop by 30 billion US dollars, we will still have 100 billion US dollars left. Our sales revenue is still growing. By May, we had grown a bit over 20%. We are just predicting a decrease in revenue over the next few months. We haven't actually seen any hard signs of such a decrease yet. As of yesterday, our financial report showed that our revenue was still growing. We are still not sure how things will turn out by the end of year. I think a revenue drop of 30 billion US dollars doesn't mean much to us. We can afford it. We are not a public company, so we don't care that much about revenue. We care more about the actual quality of our own operations.
Q4 Deirdre Bosa: Okay, let's talk about the quality of the performance in your fastest growing business unit, your consumer business, your smartphone business. You said earlier this week that smartphone shipments had declined by 40%. How can your business continue to grow if your fastest growing unit is taking a hit from what's happening between China and the US, with the US putting an equipment ban on Huawei?
Ren: Our consumer business in China is not declining, though we previously saw a record decline of 40% in overseas markets. But it is now bouncing back, and its decline outside China is less than 20%. It is recovering rapidly. Throughout this year, our overall consumer business won't experience a huge decline like what we previously saw overseas.
For Huawei as a whole, our estimated revenue for 2019 may decrease from 135 billion US dollars to 100 billion US dollars, a figure equal to that seen in 2018. But our profits are higher than before, and they are growing faster than we could have imagined. This means we must increase our strategic investment. A recent financial briefing was finished within minutes. Now that our financial performance is better than I had expected, what's the point of listening to these briefings?
Q5 Deirdre Bosa: You said profit isn't the most important thing to you. But what about your employees who are shareholders and are paid dividends based on profits that Huawei makes? How are they feeling? Are you talking to them?
Ren: Our employees are becoming more energetic and working harder than ever before. We will make every effort to win this "battle" of sanctions, and we know we have what it takes to win. So we are full of confidence. If you get a chance, you can talk to our employees about this.
Deirdre Bosa: Are you saying that your employees don't mind if profit decreases and their pay decreases?
Ren: Their salaries won't decrease. Huawei is completely able to pay all our employees, and we are refining our compensation structure. We have even fast-tracked the promotions of many employees who are performing well in these critical times, and given them pay rises. When it comes to long-term earnings, we need to look at our financial reports at the end of the year. They may be slightly lower than what we planned at the beginning of the year, but I think they will be better than I expected, because our profits are still very high. This gives me assurance. Therefore, I have asked our finance team not to report to me, so that I can spend more time on our technology.
Q6 Deirdre Bosa: How would you characterize your relationship with Google? What happens if you lose access to Google's Android operating system?
Ren: I believe Google is a great company. We have great respect for them. Huawei and Google have always shared common interests. If our products don't use their Android operating system, Google could lose 700 million to 800 million existing users. Their losses may be significant if the 200 million to 300 million new users that we are predicted to acquire each year cannot access the Android system. Our sales revenue will also drop by a certain degree in the short term, and we will have to bear these losses. This concerns our common interests. We will not replace the Android system without good reason. But if we have to take that step one day, we can still use our own operating system. Then our growth will recover.
Deirdre Bosa: Will your customers accept that? Already, in the Philippines, Huawei has said they would offer a full refund if their devices cannot run Google and Facebook apps. What if more customers demand this?
Ren: There have been impacts in global markets, but these are not as significant as many imagined. Many of our new phone functions, such as photography, are independent of Google's operating system. The most important thing that Google offers us is its ecosystem, which is excellent.
Deirdre Bosa: How can you be certain if customers are already saying they don't want to use Huawei phones if they will not have the Android operating system? How can you be so certain of this?
Ren: The US is now the strongest country in the world. Though the US is launching a global campaign against Huawei, the number of our customers is still on the rise. This means our customers have stronger confidence in Huawei than the US government does. This campaign has not had much impact on us, which can be clearly seen in the statistic reports coming from various business lines. We are not feeling much pressure.
Deirdre Bosa: I'm sorry, Mr. Ren, my question was, how can you be certain that consumers will want to choose the Huawei operating system over the Android operating system? What makes you confident that this will not hurt your business more than it already has?
Ren: Things are already at their worst, so they cannot get any worse over time. We have over 80,000 R&D staff and invest 15 to 20 billion US dollars in R&D every year. Can't we solve our problems in regards to survival and development? This is where our confidence comes from.
Deirdre Bosa: Mr. Ren, I'm sorry, but I'm going to ask you one more time. What makes you confident, though, that customers will be willing to use your operating system? Is it ready to roll out and what happens if, in mid-August, Google is no longer able to supply Huawei with the Android operating system?
Ren: I do not think anything will happen. The only thing that may happen is that while a certain number of customers may not choose Huawei, others will.
Q7 Deirdre Bosa: Okay, one strategy that you are pursuing in the US is stepping up licensing patents. Even that, though, is threatened now. Senator Marco Rubio is filing legislation that will prevent that. What do you think? What is going on in terms of your patenting business and your ability to make that for some of the shortfall distinguished now through that means?
Ren: The US is a country ruled by law and has the most patents in the world. Will its image be affected if the Senator's recommendation is approved by US Congress? That depends on how the world's 7.7 billion people view this matter. I have no say on that.
Q8 Deirdre Bosa: I know that you have a lot of admiration for the US. You have talked about it in the past, yet you are also a student of history. You know that empires and countries, they can decline over time. What makes you have so much trust in the US right now and so much conviction that they will treat you fairly?
Ren: The US was an uncivilized country over two centuries ago. So how has it grown into the most powerful country within 200 years? The answer is openness. Talented people from around the world are willing to go to the US, where the legal, innovation, and property protection systems are mature. This has made the US what it is today. We have to learn from the US, so that we can grow stronger.
The US has a long history, and one little incident does not represent its entire history. Our respect for the US won't change just because of the setback we have met. Just like we won't hate our parents because they spanked us when we were young. This is because we have lived with our parents for decades, and they spanked us only for a couple of seconds. We won't break our ties with them over those few seconds. Similarly, the incumbent US government's attack against us will play a minor role in its long history. And we have no idea how the next US president will treat Huawei.
Q9 Deirdre Bosa: You said in the past, though, that number one breeds complacency. The US has been the number one economy in the world. Does it risk becoming complacent? Is it complacent?
Ren: Perhaps. If it were not complacent, why is it falling behind others?
Q10 Deirdre Bosa: The metaphor that you just used, that Huawei is similar to a child being spanked by their parents in terms of their relationship with the United States. Is there a worry that the child could be hit too hard? Are you worried about Huawei's survival?
Ren: No. Adding Huawei to the US's Entity List will affect only our non-core products. What the US has done may lead us to cut some non-core businesses, but our globally leading products will not be impacted.
Q11 Deirdre Bosa: You said that Huawei will see a new life in 2021, when the pain from the US attacks will be over. How do you get there? Does that assume that the US export ban will be lifted?
Ren: We compare ourselves to a bullet-riddled Il-2 plane. As serious as the damage may be, the plane's engine and fuel tank are still functioning. We can mend the holes as we fly. When they are all fixed, the plane will be working as well as a normal one. We don't expect the US to lift their ban on us. Instead, we are repairing our plane so that it can continue to fly.
Deirdre Bosa: How are you preparing? Are you now developing your own chips as the ultimate goal to not rely on the US suppliers? How are you preparing to repair that airplane that you talked about?
Ren: We are always making preparations. If we don't want to die, we need to fix our problems and weaknesses. We must first find the biggest hole in the plane and fix it. After that, we will mend the smaller holes. After they are all fixed, we will be able to fly high in the sky.
Q12 Deirdre Bosa: Two years from now, are you still buying the same amount of components from the US?
Ren: We may be buying even more. US suppliers have contributed to Huawei's growth over the past years. If they're allowed to sell to us, we would have no conscience not to buy from them. We definitely want to buy from them. If the US doesn't allow them to sell to us, it won't be our fault. It is our hope that we can continue to buy from them. Now we are continuing to place orders to them. It is just that they need to get approval from Washington. If they can get approval, we will still buy from them; otherwise, we will have to find other ways.
Deirdre Bosa: Are you able to find those other ways? Have you already put preparations in place? What are those?
Ren: Yes. We have to repair each of the hundreds of holes so that the plane can return safely. See, this is the bullet-riddled plane I mentioned. Huawei is like this plane, as we are also seriously damaged. It is impossible for me to explain every detail of how we are doing it. If you are interested, you can interview some of our ground-level employees, and they will tell you how we do it. I myself am not a repairer. I welcome you to visit us in two years to see whether we are having a better time than we are today.
Deirdre Bosa: I would love to see that, but I'm very curious, and I still haven't received an answer or any strategy that really explains how you will get there. Will you depend on other overseas suppliers or start making the components yourself, which I know you already are, but to a greater degree?
Ren: These two approaches are both possible. But we will mainly rely on ourselves and focus on improving our own capabilities.
Q13 Deirdre Bosa: Are you hopeful that the trade talks between China and the US will be resolved?
Ren: We have nothing to do with the trade between China and the US, because we barely have any sales in the US. Trade between the two countries is a huge subject, and we don't know what they are negotiating. We only care about our own business. We hope that they don't mention us. We are not worth mentioning in their dialogues.
Deirdre Bosa: Have you spoken to President Trump or any US officials?
Ren: We've been communicating with the US government through the District Court for the Eastern District of New York and the Texas court. We think we'd better solve problems through the courts.
Deirdre Bosa: Let's imagine that it really was President Trump. Would you be willing to take a phone call from him?
Ren: Of course I would be willing to take the call. We could discuss potential collaboration for shared success. The information society will be huge, and we should work together to build that society. Everyone should contribute their own efforts. Huawei has only made some accomplishments within a very narrow scope. The US is still the most powerful country in many of the remaining areas. We should work together to build the information society. That's what I would like to say.
Deirdre Bosa: What would you tell him about national security concerns regarding Huawei?
Ren: I would tell him that the atmosphere is only about 1,000 kilometers thick, but the cloud of the information society will be several thousand kilometers thick. That will mean a huge market and numerous opportunities. It won't be a zero-sum game, and everyone will need to work together to build such a huge information society. Huawei is just a step ahead of others in the field of connectivity. The US has a wide range of strong capabilities, and can secure a large share in this huge cloud.
Q14 Deirdre Bosa: Have you spoken to the Chinese president or any other senior Chinese officials about Huawei's role in the trade war and these sorts of attacks that the business is facing?
Ren: How could I set up a meeting with them to discuss such specific issues? Huawei's issues are small issues to China as a whole. They are as small as a sesame seed to the US. I don't think they are worth discussing. We can solve these issues on our own. We believe in US law, and we can solve the issues between the US and ourselves through the law.
Deirdre Bosa: You have 180,000 employees. You are one of the biggest companies not only in China but also in the world. Why would it be strange to talk to Chinese government officials when you are such an important company to China and the world?
Ren: We are capable of solving our own issues, and we are fully confident of this. Why should we ask others for help? The US released its sanctions list against Huawei a while ago now. However, nothing has changed in our company. If you tour around our company, you can see how our employees are doing, and that everything has been business as usual. You should visit our production lines, which are operating as usual. Therefore, we don't need help from anyone.
Deirdre Bosa: I didn't ask if you would ask for help. I asked if you would speak to Chinese officials. What happens to Huawei will affect the Chinese economy, will it not? Maybe not now, but it will if your business continues to decline. Your revenue is more than that of Alibaba and Tencent combined.
Ren: We are not under any pressure. We believe the attacks by the US government are a test for Huawei. If we can survive this, we will become stronger. In China, we say "rise from the ashes like a phoenix" and "from the ashes the phoenix is reborn". If we manage to survive the fire, we will become stronger. During this process, we will be able to identify outstanding employees and promote them faster. Those employees who lag behind can choose to leave Huawei. In this way, our team will become stronger in three to five years. By then, we may have already put the difficulties we are facing behind us, laying a solid foundation for rapid development in the future.
Deirdre Bosa: You are saying that you do not talk to Chinese officials about Huawei's business?
Ren: That's correct. When a couple has two children and prefers one to the other, the child who is loved more often turns out to be mediocre, and the other, who gets less attention, usually ends up becoming outstanding. Why is that? The spoiled child is usually unmotivated to become better.
Huawei is like the other child. Throughout our 30-year history, we have relied on ourselves to grow. We have become very tough and are able to stand any pressure or attacks. In the current situation, we must continue relying on ourselves, get up off the ground, and forge ahead. I believe we will survive this. That's why we have compared Huawei to an aircraft riddled with bullet holes. We want our employees to fix those holes. We have no idea which exact hole each employee can fix, because all of our 180,000 employees are busy fixing holes.
Deirdre Bosa: If Huawei is a child though, and the Chinese government is the parent, the child would be talking to the parent, would it not? I find it hard to believe that you don't discuss business with (Chinese government) officials. In the US, companies regularly talk to lawmakers.
Ren: US companies must abide by the law. It's perfectly normal for them to talk to the government. Regarding our relationships with the US, we can overcome the difficulties we are facing, and we don't need help from anyone to do this.
Q15 Deirdre Bosa: The export ban against Huawei is already having an effect on American companies that sell to you. We are seeing it in their forecasts for revenue and profits in the year ahead. Are they talking to US officials on Huawei's behalf? Are they trying to lift the export ban or at least get some exemptions?
Ren: I don't know whether US companies will be able to lift the ban or not. The US attacks on Huawei are hurting both Huawei and US companies. Our revenue will drop, and so will theirs. In fact, many of these US companies are public companies, and drops in revenue will have a bigger impact on them. Huawei is not a public company, and we don't have to take responsibility for drops in revenue. That's also one benefit of not going public.
Deirdre Bosa: Do you or your executives talk to executives at American companies, your suppliers?
Ren: I think all our senior executives have reached a consensus on this. The attacks against us by the US government did not divide our senior management team. We are actively communicating with US suppliers, and continuing to request deliveries and place orders. We will not stop placing orders with US suppliers due to US restrictions. If the ban is lifted one day, how will they be able to ship products to us if we haven't placed orders with them? So we are still sending delivery requests. It's another issue that our US suppliers currently cannot deliver to us. We are trying to find a solution for that.
We still respect US companies, and we feel sorry for them. They have helped us in the past. Now they are also suffering, because of their partnerships with us. But what can I do? It was the US president who made this decision. There is nothing I can do to change the situation.
Deirdre Bosa: Are they advocating on Huawei's behalf?
Ren: I don't know about that.
Q16 Deirdre Bosa: Who has more to lose in the trade war: China or the US?
Ren: The trade war has nothing to do with me. How could I know whether the US or China has more to lose? We have virtually no sales in the US, so the tariffs imposed by the US government have nothing to do with Huawei. We are not engaged in these affairs at all, and I don't care about the trade war between China and the US.
Deirdre Bosa: Mr. Ren, you are the CEO of a global company. You have business all over the world. Are you saying that you don't care about the outcome of the trade war?
Ren: No, I don't care.
Q17 Deirdre Bosa: Do you care about your ability to do business in the United States? Do you think that it's appropriate for US companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter to be banned in China while you advocate access to the US market?
Ren: No, I don't care. I would guess we will not be able to do business in the US for a long period of time, so I don't care whether the US will let us into their market or not. Even if they open their market to us, we may not be able to do business there, because it takes a long time to build a system.
Whether it's the US banning Huawei or China banning other companies, these are actions taken by sovereign states. This has nothing to do with our company.
Deirdre Bosa: You are not advocating for access to the US market?
Ren: No. It would only be a waste of resources.
Deirdre Bosa: Would it be a waste of your resources? Because you are putting a lot of resources into it. Again, you are sitting here with me. You have hired lobbyists. You employed executives to speak to American media on a regular basis. Why bother if you don't want access?
Ren: We have been investing resources to engage with the media not because we want to enter the US market, but because we want to dispel the many misunderstandings the US has about us. The US government is not just going against us within the US, it has been lobbying against us around the world. Pompeo has been flying worldwide for all kinds of meetings. And Huawei is one of the top-three items on Trump's meeting agendas during his visits to other countries. So we also need some publicity in the US to exert some influence.
Q18 Deirdre Bosa: Do you care about your access to other markets like Europe and Australia that are now considering their relationships with you?
Ren: We have been engaging with European customers for 20 years and our customers there have great trust in us. Europe has not rejected us up until now, so we will continue to provide better services to European people. This is a commitment we are not going to change.
Deirdre Bosa: How important is it for you to keep that access, and doesn't that depend on what the US does, as they put pressure on their allies to stop doing business with Huawei?
Ren: It hasn't affected us much, because our customers still trust us. If they still trust us under such high pressure, their trust in us will only increase when such pressure is relieved. What if we can't meet their demand then? I'm actually more concerned about this right now.
Deirdre Bosa: Mr. Ren, you are already losing customers across the world. Australia has banned Huawei equipment.
Ren: Australia has the right to make its own decisions, why would I worry about this so much?
Deirdre Bosa: Europe is a big market and one of your most important markets. They are considering the same measures?
Ren: Not that I'm aware of. Europe still welcomes us.
Q19 Deirdre Bosa: Mr. Ren, for many years you didn't speak to the media. In the last six months, you have spoken to many media outlets. Why are you here sitting down with me, a journalist from an American organization, if you don't care about the trade war, and you don't care about doing business in the US?
Ren: First, since last December, over 90% of the global media coverage on Huawei has been relatively negative, because the media didn't know the real situation. Our public relations department believes that we need to show the real Huawei to the world. Since I rarely spoke to the media, our PR people thought that the media might be a bit curious about me. So I started meeting and talking more with the media. Positive coverage now accounts for around 27%, and is slowly increasing to 30%. This is helping people worldwide learn more about Huawei. I've spoken a lot over the past six months, and will probably speak more in the next six months. I hope these efforts can help the world understand us better.
Besides, I have enjoyed today's interview, because your questions are sharp. You don't dance around things, and I'm very sincere. I haven't avoided any of your questions. This way, we want to show the real Huawei to the American people. After all, they still don't know much about us. Many Americans have never been to China, and many of them have probably only seen films showing China as it was 100 years ago. They may think Chinese people are still very conservative, wearing their hair in long queues, like they did during the dynastic period. Many American people don't know that China has made huge progress in the Internet age. The more I talk, the better people will know about the real Huawei.
Deirdre Bosa: You said you haven't avoided any of my questions. With all due respect, I disagree. You have avoided some of my questions, such as what is your strategy for the export ban that is already hurting your business?
Ren: I think I have answered your questions. We don't rely on chips from the US. We have developed our own chips and our own operating system, and we will continue to mature as time goes on.
Deirdre Bosa: You didn't tell me what makes you optimistic that your customers around the world will accept your operating system, not the Android operating system.
Ren: In reality, we haven't seen a drop in our total orders worldwide. Most of our orders are for networking equipment, and that's our major product. We have barely seen a drop there. There has been a lot news about countries saying they are launching their 5G networks. Many of them are using Huawei's equipment.
I think only our consumer business has felt some of the impact. But our consumer business is a peripheral business; it's not our major business. Because of this, I don't think it's a big deal that this business has been affected a little bit.
Deirdre Bosa: The consumer business is not the most major business of Huawei? I've seen your financial results. It's the fastest growing and the biggest part of Huawei. And you said earlier this week that smartphone shipments have declined 40% in the last month.
Ren: Then why is the US attacking our 5G, rather than our consumer business? Because we are a leader in 5G, and 5G is networking equipment, not devices. I think what really matters is our position in the international market for networking equipment. Our consumer business outside China has been affected a little bit, but our consumer business in China is actually growing. Overall, there is not a big drop, and I don't think it's a big deal.
Q20 Deirdre Bosa: Mr. Ren, I know that transparency is very important to you. That's why you are sitting down with me and other members of the media. Why does Huawei continue to be a private company? Have you considered becoming a public company?
Ren: Would Huawei survive if it were a public company today? Our share price would have fluctuated or even plummeted, causing the company to collapse. As we are a private company, we will not see a big impact even if our revenue drops by tens of billions of US dollars. We will still be able to pursue our ideals.
In this way, I think being a private company works better for us than being a public company. Public companies mainly focus on short-term interests and their current financial results, and they dare not make long-term investments. But we are different. We can invest in things that are 10 or even 20 years away. This will enable us to stay far ahead of others, rather than just take the narrow lead that we have today in 5G. These are the benefits we enjoy as a private company.
Deirdre Bosa: Mr. Ren, companies much bigger than yours have not only survived hard times but survived as public companies. And Huawei has a transparency issue in the US. So, I'm not sure I understand your argument as to why you wouldn't become a public company. And talking about R&D, there are also companies bigger than yours that are public and they spend just as much, if not more, on R&D.
Ren: Then they should have done better than us, right? But why does the US attack our 5G?
Deirdre Bosa: Let me give an example. Facebook in the United States is under attack, but their share price has continued to grow as they adjust their business. So why would being a public company prevent Huawei's survival?
Ren: First, I want to say we fight for our ideals. If we were a public company, many employees would sell their shares and leave the company under today's circumstances. But now, our employees are more united and work even harder. This is how we are overcoming these difficulties. I think this is the benefit for not going public.
Second, public companies are very rich. We are the poorest tech company. Despite that, we are the world's fifth largest investor in scientific research. We will further increase our investment in this regard, despite some financial difficulties that we are facing today. Our business might shrink a little bit, but we will not reduce our investment in scientific research during hard times. We will continue to invest 15 to 20 billion US dollars into scientific research each year.
Q21 Deirdre Bosa: A lot of Huawei's current problems stem from issues with trust and transparency, and skepticism that Huawei operates separately from the Chinese government. Have you considered creating an autonomous subsidiary outside of China that would be beyond the reach of Chinese law?
Deirdre Bosa: If not, how can you change the perception that Huawei is an extension of the Chinese state?
Ren: Who can unify the thinking of 7.7 billion people around the world? People think differently. As long as our customers understand us, then that's enough. We don't need to take additional measures to make everyone understand us. It doesn't matter if some people don't. History will prove what kind of company we are. It has already done so over the past 30 years. If we can survive in the next 30 years, history will further support us. Why do we have to prove ourselves by going public?
Deirdre Bosa: I'm not asking about being listed. I'm talking about creating an autonomous subsidiary outside of China if that would help your business if it continued to suffer around the world, and if that prevented the 30-billion-dollar hit to revenue. Would you consider creating an autonomous subsidiary outside of China if it would help your business and ensure Huawei's survival?
Ren: 30 billion US dollars is not a big deal. We don't have to change our overall operating mechanism. We will prove to people around the world that Huawei is a good company. We want customers to find this out through their own experiences. We don't need politicians who know little about technology to understand us.
Deirdre Bosa: So, under no circumstances would you consider creating an autonomous subsidiary outside of China, under no circumstance whatsoever?
Ren: We have subsidiaries in more than 100 countries. They are independent. They were not set up to prove ourselves to politicians, but to ensure compliance. We are committed to abide by the laws of the countries where we operate, as well as UN resolutions and international laws.
Q22 Deirdre Bosa: I want to ask you about your daughter, Meng Wangzhou, being held in her own home in Canada, awaiting her extradition trial. While this is certainly an undesirable position, she does have access to her home, to visitors, and to her lawyers. The Canadians detained in China are not getting the same treatment and from Canada's point of view, they are being treated unfairly. Do you think that's appropriate?
Ren: First of all, my daughter is not guilty. She didn't commit a crime. The Skycom business in Iran was clearly understood by the bank throughout the entire process. We have exchanged emails, and each email has their logos. They know about the company and the transaction settlement. My daughter just said something over a cup of coffee with them in a café. This has somehow now become significant evidence of a crime. My daughter's issue can be clarified and resolved, as long as the court discloses the evidence. The District Court for the Eastern District of New York can ask the prosecutors any questions they need to, and our lawyers can also ask them questions, then both sides can present their evidence. The truth will then be revealed. As I said, the bank knew about the transactions from beginning to end. How can something my daughter said over a cup of coffee become evidence of a crime? But we believe that the US and Canadian judicial systems are open and transparent, and we believe that this issue will be solved eventually. So we are waiting patiently for a resolution, and I don't feel too aggrieved.
Deirdre Bosa: You believe the system is open and transparent in Canada. But do you think it's appropriate that she is in her own home with access to visitors and lawyers, while those Canadians detained in China are not receiving the same treatment? Do you think that's appropriate?
Ren: That's an issue between countries. I'm focusing all my attention on repairing our aircraft, and checking which parts are riddled with bullets and might need patches. Currently, I don't even have time to worry about my daughter, so how could I possibly care about other things? The issue you brought up will be settled through negotiations between governments.
Q23 Deirdre Bosa: Mr. Ren, thank you very much for being candid and taking this interview.
Ren: I believe we will have the opportunity to meet again. And I hope that when we meet next time, our aircraft has been repaired and it is still flying. Then you will be welcome to visit us again.