back to article Huawei’s elusive Mr Ren: We’re just a 'sesame seed' in a superpower spat

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei does not give interviews, so the two-hour audience the firm granted to US media on Monday was a landmark - and perhaps a recognition of the crisis enveloping the company. Huawei faces a rising tide of headlines about its trustworthiness as a corporate supplier. The session gave a fascinating insight …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Diplomatic

    Sounds as though he has spent his life in the diplomatic corps, not the technology business.

    Presumably, having to deal with the Party requires that skill to be honed.

    1. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge

      Re: Diplomatic

      If he's offering praise to POTUS then he clearly isn't up to speed with US politics.

      What is a psy-op anyway?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Diplomatic

      My mind may now be infected with malware, but the interview led me to want to be friends.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real power lies with

    Stimpy.

    Sorry. Sorry, sorry

    1. Jemma Silver badge

      Re: The real power lies with

      Don't apologise - we were all thinking it

  3. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    FAIL

    Luddites = Non Sequitur

    “That's as silly as people smashing textile machines back during the industrial revolution, as they thought advanced textile machines would disrupt the world."

    No. This is about:

    A) Huawei's direct connection to the totalitarian ('communist') government

    B) The destruction of incentive created by the totalitarian ('communist') government

    B) China's resulting need to constantly hack the rest of the world, which has been ongoing since 1998

    C) China having stolen intellectual property then pretending China's companies have any right to it

    D) Propaganda purporting that China has any benevolent attitude toward any of the rest of the world

    E) Propaganda purporting that China actually invents or innovates anything

    F) China's blatant process of establishing an empire, both technologically and geographically.

    IOW: There isn't one iota of a reason for anyone to trust Huawei, especially with a data networking technology such as 5G mobile.

    I personally hope and desire that the people of China get out from under their totalitarian, criminal nation regime in order that they can really and truly be free to be creative, expressive, individual and free as mankind is meant to be. The enemy is not the people of China. The enemy is their lunatic government and its malevolent intent. Thumbs down to political nonsense in pursuit of that malevolence.

    1. cornetman

      Re: Luddites = Non Sequitur

      > ... about its trustworthiness as a corporate supplier.

      Have we actually seen *any* evidence of wrongdoing by Huawei other than the obvious smearing in the press?

      The Chinese government are certainly more up-front about their spying. What I'm more worried about is what the other governments do that we are not generally aware of. Particularly after the Snowden revelations about what the US government has been up to covertly (and without any kind of real judicial oversight), the hypocrisy is quite astounding.

      It's easy to conflate the obvious human rights violations perpetrated by the Chinese government (which are heinous enough) with what is essentially a business issue. We've all seen the "secret room" photographs at large telecoms centres in the US allegedly sucking off all sorts of customer data but in reality we have absolutely no idea what goes on in there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Luddites = Non Sequitur

        > Have we actually seen *any* evidence of wrongdoing by Huawei other than the obvious smearing in the press?"

        Take yer pick, sir.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huawei#Espionage_and_security_concerns

        1. cornetman

          Re: Luddites = Non Sequitur

          Yeah, I can see an awful lot of the word "alleged" in that article but little of anything that is concrete.

          If Huawei are guilty of any of that, why isn't someone in jail for it?

      2. LOL123

        Re: Luddites = Non Sequitur

        >> Have we actually seen *any* evidence of wrongdoing by Huawei

        You miss the point that Huawei the company is happy to stick to "soft" responses via press releases and chinese government commentary.

        I think Huawei could have had an independent third party audit done but they haven't done that.

        There is more to this I think. I'd imagine a company with nothing to hide as claimed would be open about proving it. They would have done things to prove their independence from the chinese government and their device security and close the matter. This is usually the response when your brand is affected by "fake news".

        There is significant revenue here that any normal company usually takes concrete actions to protect.

        They aren't doing anything concrete to close the matter. Which begs the question - why not?

        1. cornetman

          Re: Luddites = Non Sequitur

          > There is more to this I think. I'd imagine a company with nothing to hide as claimed would be open about proving it.

          WTF, did you really just justify your stance by saying "you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide?"

        2. Azerty

          Re: Luddites = Non Sequitur

          > I think Huawei could have had an independent third party audit done but they haven't done that.

          In fact they were audited by an "independent cyber security evaluation center set up in Oxford in 2010 in conjunction with the government" and found clean:

          https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-security-huawei-tech-idUSKBN0ML20U20150325

    2. Swarthy Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Luddites = Non Sequitur

      Speaking of non sequitur, you have you points E and F right next to each other. How can China be plotting a Technological Empire, without inventing or innovating?

      I also feel the need to point out that Huawei is slightly ahead of other telecoms equipment providers as far as 5G stuff goes.

    3. cbars

      Re: Luddites = Non Sequitur

      A) Show me a large multonational not connected to the government of their home country, this backs up Ren that this is an idealogical conflict

      B) Unclear

      C) As are 5 eyes and Iran and everyone else

      D) Which country is benevolent to anyone else?! Jeez

      E) The idea that a country of 1billion people is incapable of innovation or invention is hilarious

      F) This is a concern, but not to do with Huawei. If countries are concerned with China's dominance in technology then they shouldn't let them build critical infrastructure (hello UK government)

      IOW A) and F) have some merit, but are probably not relevant to trusting products built by Huawei, at least no more so than trusting US products

      1. Youngone Silver badge

        Re: Luddites = Non Sequitur

        DerekCurrie could have substituted Cisco or The United States of America for each of his points and it would still have been correct.

        The area where China needs to pick up it's game is propaganda. No-one does that quite as well as our American friends.

        Making primary school children stand up every morning to swear an oath of allegiance makes my skin crawl.

    4. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: Luddites = Non Sequitur

      Well, I'm sure there are plenty of companies in the world are happy if trade secrets fall into their lap - Huawei may have been a bit more blatant about it (certainly in the past), but equally they have been very canny with their relationships with other companies and their customers in establishing their market position.

      In terms of your chain that China isn't very innovative, I think several thousand years of history might disagree. But in the modern day era, specifically, I've been to the Huawei campuses in Shanghai and Shenzhen and they're huge. They have thousands of engineers to throw at problems, and a lot of them are very well educated. The ones I dealt with had to cope with not being allowed to bring materials to meetings (company policy to prevent secrets from leading!) But could still keep in their heads detailed review items for a 600+ page technical requirements document. The added bonus for China is that their labour force is/was so cheap, even for highly qualified staff, so it's not difficult to compete against a Western business which usually has a much higher cost base due to higher employment costs - even if starting from behind the curve.

    5. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: Luddites = Non Sequitur

      China is not communist. You don't have communist billionaires.

      You think the US is not hacking every one, and Trumps buddies in Russia are hacking everyone. Don't act like it's only China. You think the US can't hack into cisco stuff?

      If I was going to gripe about China it would be their payday loans to developing countries.

      But Huawei is not China, it's the natural result of outsourcing to China. Why should they make the stuff for peanuts and let Apple make all the profit? They can make their own stuff and take all the money. So now we have the Huawei P20 and other companies like Oneplus starting to sell their own stuff. It's like Japan and TVs in the 70's

      US companies that boosted their profits by outsourcing now fear they are going to be the next RCA.

    6. southen bastard

      Re: Luddites = Non Sequitur

      All your points A-F the merkin govt has been guilty of and when caught very proud of what they are doing.

      very much the pot calling teh pan BLACK.

      I am not very suportove of the china govt but the merkins are very much worse!

      wake up dick wipes, they all do it

  4. Kernel

    Nothing like the smell of ethics first thing in the morning.

    "He reverse-engineered a piece of industrial equipment required for synthetic fibre production, and won national fame "

    “My little invention was exaggerated into something really big and it was promoted in various media outlets, including newspapers, magazines, movies, etc. And because of such massive publicity, luckily I was chosen to be a member of the National Science Conference.”

    No, you didn't invent anything - you copied what someone else's technology and then proceeded to profit from the act, completely ignoring any IP rights the original developer may have had.

    Maybe the Chinese words for 'rip-off' and 'invent' are the same.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nothing like the smell of ethics first thing in the morning.

      Maybe the Chinese words for 'rip-off' and 'invent' are the same.

      It has always been the case with emerging nations that they steal ideas with pride. When they get more developed like the US or Europe they're more discreet, and pretend they don't. And if they can't steal a foreign idea, they'll just try and block it through pure protectionism, or via the civil courts.

      All of human endeavour is founded on copying things others have done, and very, very occasionally innovating a tiny bit. Whilst innovators need to be rewarded, so do the societies providing the cheap labour that provides all the lovely cheap goods that we want, but won't pay the price to have locally made.

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Nothing like the smell of ethics first thing in the morning.

      Like US industry in C18 ripping off UK textile mill patents, it's cool when "our" side does it, but when someone else does it, its the worse thing ever.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Correct me if I'm wrong but...

    ...didn't the USA publishing industry start by simply ignoring UK copyright?

  6. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    Go

    #MySleepingGovernment Wakes Up

    After 20 years of hacking my nation by China: Criminal Nation, at long last:

    Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Ban Sale of US Tech to Chinese Companies

    https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/government/bipartisan-bill-introduced-to-ban-sale-of-us-tech-to-chinese-companies/

    According to Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD):

    Huawei and ZTE are two sides of the same coin. Both companies have repeatedly violated U.S. laws, represent a significant risk to American national security interests, and need to be held accountable. Moving forward, we must combat China’s theft of advanced U.S. technology and their brazen violation of U.S. law.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: #MySleepingGovernment Wakes Up and Goes on a Bender*

      According to Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD):

      Huawei and ZTE are two sides of the same coin. Both companies have repeatedly violated U.S. laws, represent a significant risk to American national security interests, and need to be held accountable. Moving forward, we must combat China’s theft of advanced U.S. technology and their brazen violation of U.S. law.

      What that does, DerekCurrie, is create more choice and novel market opportunity for advanced technology entrepreneurs which forces the US and the West trying to block systems migration and information sharing of future overwhelmingly advantageous proprietary intellectual property with Eastern partners rather than giving the West very valuable first choice refusal facilities.

      Bender* .... https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bender

      1. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
        Facepalm

        Re: #MySleepingGovernment Wakes Up and Frees Itself From China: Criminal Nation

        Please try to troll more coherently.

        As I've pointed out, China invents and innovates nothing. I've personally championed a couple Chinese companies that have dared to be innovative. They are the dire minority.

        If you can't create, you can't compete.

        The blatantly obvious outcome of China playing through with it's childish game of DOMINATION without creation is inevitable STAGNATION. Why is that hard for you to comprehend? You're simply living out the Short-Term Thinking, Long-Term Disaster scenario that has been ruining business and economies around the world. 'The Great Recession' is now the prime example of that craziness. You want more of it.

        [Dear Lamentable Chinese Trolls: Promoting your own self destruction helps no one. Dump your repressive government and join the creative world again. It's far better out here. Oh and I can see your real estate crash from here. Garbage in equals garbage out.]

        1. cornetman

          Re: #MySleepingGovernment Wakes Up and Frees Itself From China: Criminal Nation

          Mr Currie, the reality is much more subtle and complex.

          China and Chinese companies have been proven to be blameworthy for many things in the past.

          However, to tar everyone with the same brush while at the same time being wilfully blind the the blatant hypocrisy of the US is naive and simplistic.

          Have Huawei done illegal things? Quite probably.

          Are they worse or better in this regard than Oracle or Cisco or AT&T or Google or any other western tech company of a comparable size in business or in collusion with their respective governments? That's really kinda up for debate.

          You have to pick your preferred poison and realise that *all* companies can be greedy, moronic and corruptable.

        2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: #MySleepingGovernment Wakes Up and Frees Itself From China: Criminal Nation

          Crikey, DerekCurrie,

          What can you tell us of Integrity Initiatives and the likes of the Institute for Statecraft. Two failed clones and drones in the application and propagation of intelligence. You surely speak with their rabid brand of rancid forked tongue, Kemo Sabe.

          Don't you know ..... Whenever stuck in a deep dark dank hole, stop digging.

      2. Tail Up

        Re: #MySleepingBender*

        A truly Satanic Indifference is probably the most fit description of beings set ForqueTonged, like ones of some commenters/authors/blind transmitters of unbelievably tasteless chewing gums, I believe, amfM.

        Vatican Vault? Funny, isn't IT, and Currious alike. Cardinal changes necessary are. Bono Est.

        https://youtu.be/ajVoeX4eqIQ (-;

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: #MySleepingBender* .....

          Easy Prey is Satanic Indifference, to HeroICQ Passion, right on through to Immaculate Stoicism :-)

          License that for an Operatic Masterpiece/Rock and Roll Anthem, and One Never Ever Need Work Again, Tail Up.

          First into New Virgin Virtual Fields know All Secrets are to be Known and Declared ..... for Naked Entry into Fully Immersive Augmented Virtual Reality AIdVentures in Guises for One's Own Future Virtualised Beings ...... Fully Realised Media Hosted Existence.

          WYSIWYG ....... so, Share a Future Beta Bigger Picture and Invite 0Day Trippers to Joint Experiences and Experiments in AIMagical Mystery Tours. Practically Real Metadata Physical Journeys in Live Operational Virtual Environments.

          And more Roscosmos than NASA, more AJAXA than ESA ?

          What's IT more likely to be in the Future, Erotic Exotic Eastern Suited than Wacky Wild West Outfitted? Or is that a Hobson's choice?

          Command and Control the Great Advanced IntelAIgent Geo-Political Gamers Space and care not who writes laws.

  7. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    Thumb Up

    DOJ Joins #MyWakingGovernment Against Huawei IP Theft

    It gets better!

    Report: DOJ pursuing criminal charges against Huawei for theft of tech

    Huawei stole robotic tech from T-Mobile, according to a civil jury.

    https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/01/report-doj-pursuing-criminal-charges-against-huawei-for-theft-of-tech/

    In the wake of a civil lawsuit by T-Mobile and other telecommunications companies against the Chinese networking and telecommunications company Huawei, the US Department of Justice is reportedly conducting a criminal investigation of the company. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the DOJ is close to filing an indictment against Huawei for theft of trade secrets, including the technology used in a robot developed by T-Mobile to test smartphones.

    Huawei Targeted in U.S. Criminal Probe for Alleged Theft of Trade Secrets

    Probe involves allegations that Huawei stole robot phone-testing technology from T-Mobile

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/federal-prosecutors-pursuing-criminal-case-against-huawei-for-alleged-theft-of-trade-secrets-11547670341?mod=hp_lead_pos1

    Federal prosecutors are pursuing a criminal investigation of China’s Huawei Technologies Co. for allegedly stealing trade secrets from U.S. business partners, including technology used by T-Mobile US Inc. to test smartphones....

    [A Chinese Luddite is someone who's an apologist and enabler of their criminal nation's unwillingness to embrace the post-medieval values of individual freedom, privacy and creativity. And no, that doesn't require becoming a delusional, self-destructive, hateful, proletariate-stomping parasite-capitalist. Accept nothing less than Quality Capitalism that benefits ALL.]

    1. Yes Me Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: DOJ Joins #MyWakingGovernment Against Huawei IP Theft

      As others have said, it's entirely possible that Huawei has borrowed technology. Well, Cisco used some pretty intensive techniques to squash their early competitors, not to mention allegedly ripping off their alma mater:

      In 1985, Bosack and Stanford employee Kirk Lougheed began a project to formally network Stanford's campus.[7] They adapted Yeager's software into what became the foundation for Cisco IOS, despite Yeager's claims that he had been denied permission to sell the Blue Box commercially. On July 11, 1986, Bosack and Lougheed were forced to resign from Stanford and the university contemplated filing criminal complaints against Cisco and its founders for the theft of its software, hardware designs and other intellectual properties. [Wikipedia]
      So could you kindly get off your high horse, Mr Creativity Technologist?

  8. Happytodiscuss

    Hyperbolic Assertions and Criticisms Justified or Not?

    I assert that none of us has an idea of the complete truth of the matter before us. The issue has become technical, cultural, political, historical (alright NORTEL had its intellectual property in the wireless to wired bidirectionality stolen by someone and maybe everyone), and commercial one.

    We are a 'five-eye' that has just been threatened by China that our citizens (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-canada-rebuffs-chinese-warnings-of-repercussions/) will be further punished if we don't allow Huawei to remain selling into our market. There are a number of individuals' fates held hostage to ensure that we understand the clear and present danger of not allowing Huawei to continue supplying into our market.

    Question, is Microwave backhaul the real primary competitive advantage for Huawei in the 5 G wars? Our sparse spaces would provide discontinuities for any potential mesh design using Huawei if that is the case. Is Russia buying from Huawei?

    Question, would the legacy university research ecosystem for Bell Northern, NORTEL and Blackberry provide advanced insight into the wireless/telecommunications domain even today? Huawei is spending a considerable amount of effort investing in our universities driving innovations and advancements, and because our research programs don't demand that IP ownership remain within our borders as a precondition for government research dollars, Huawei is using our gold for their benefit.

    Question, from your perspective, would you vote that this 'five-eye' vote 'aye or nay' to allowing Huawei access to bidding on our network needs or should they be barred?

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