Ren Zhengfei has big plans for Huawei, in spite of American sanctions

Huawei once looked unstoppable. Having began in 1987 selling phone switches from a flat in the southern city of Shenzhen, in 2012 the Chinese technology firm overtook Ericsson, a Swedish rival, to become the world’s biggest maker of telecoms gear. By 2020 its market share in the business exceeded 30%, roughly as much as Ericsson and Nokia of Finland, its two main competitors, combined. The same year it surpassed Samsung as the largest maker of smartphones. Its fast-growing software and cloud-computing businesses were beginning to compete with America’s ibm and Oracle.

The American government had other plans. Successive administrations have regarded Huawei as a national-security risk, claiming that it had deep links with the People’s Liberation Army and that its gear could be used for spying (allegations that have not been proven and that Huawei denies). Washington has banned Huawei’s wares at home and urged allies to ditch them from their 5g mobile networks. Most…

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