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CEO: Huawei can weather choppy waters

By Ma Si | China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-19 08:46

An attendee plays a Huawei VR2 virtual reality music game during CES 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The founder and CEO of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd said the difficulties the tech giant faces today will not have a big effect on its business in the long term, predicting revenue will double within five years.

The smartphone maker predicted more than 10 years ago the challenges it may face today, according to 74-year-old Ren Zhengfei.

"We are not completely unprepared to deal with the situation. The difficulties will affect us but not to a large extent. No grave problems will emerge," he said in an interview with the media in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Thursday.

Ren said that the company will invest $100 billion over the next five years to make the world's best telecom network and to make it extremely safe.

"After five years, annual revenue is likely to more than double today's figure," Ren added.

The company posted $108.5 billion in revenue in 2018, and said the figure is likely to hit $125 billion this year.

It was the second media briefing for the reclusive head of Huawei within three days, highlighting that the world's largest telecom equipment maker is embracing an increasingly open approach to counter allegations by taking the initiative to respond to concerns.

In a one-and-half-hour interview, Ren said he has never supported "self-innovation", adding people should not do everything on their own.

"Science and technology are the commonwealth of mankind and we should stand on the shoulders of our predecessors to advance. That way we can bridge the distance we have with the world's best," Ren said.

"When others innovate, we must respect others' intellectual properties and pay to get their permission. If we redo (something), we also must get their permission and pay them. That's the law," he said, clarifying he was talking about engineering innovation at enterprises, not scientific innovation.

Founded in 1987, Huawei's business has gradually expanded to cover telecom equipment, semiconductors, smartphones and big data solutions. Its products and services are now available in more than 170 countries and regions, with about 180,000 employees around the world.

In response to Western accusations that Chinese companies have stolen intellectual properties, Ren said Huawei has had several big cases in the United States, which all concluded successfully.

"Huawei now has 87,805 patents and 11,152 of them were granted in the United States. Our technical patents are of value to the US information society. We also have cross-patent admissions with many Western companies. We absolutely respect others' IP," Ren noted.

Xiang Ligang, CEO of industry website Cctime, said it would not be easy for outside pressure to topple Huawei, given the company's huge size and its growing technological weight in the global arena.

In the third quarter of 2018, Huawei commanded a 28 percent share of the global telecom equipment market, according to data from research company Dell'Oro Group.

In the same period, it shipped 14.6 percent of all smartphones worldwide, said International Data Corp.

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