Chinese telecommunications company Huawei discussed its next steps forward at a press conference in Brussels today, after the United States Commerce Department restricted Huawei’s access to American technology. Google cut Huawei off on Monday, preventing them from using Google’s Android operating system for future versions of Huawei’s smartphones. Now, Huawei will only have access to Google’s open source code for Android without any technical support or collaboration with Google.
“Huawei is here to stay in Europe, for Europe,” said Abraham Liu, Huawei’s Chief Representative to the EU Institutions.
Europe is Huawei’s second-biggest customer. With the software loss, European Huawei users will not be able to access YouTube, Maps, Gmail, and the Google Play Store on new smartphones. For users in China though, the software loss will have no impact. Almost every Google app is blocked in China.
“It’s not only Huawei’s challenge. It’s Google’s challenge,” Liu said. “And with what’s happening, our discussion between Huawei’s team and Google’s team is ongoing.” Liu did not release any details about the ongoing discussion between Google and Huawei.
“Huawei will persevere,” Liu said. “We are a global company and our international operations will continue.”
Citing espionage concerns – a claim Huawei has repeatedly denied – the White House placed sanctions on the Shenzhen-based company and is attempting to persuade its European allies to further isolate Huawei. From now on, American companies must obtain special permission to do business with Huawei.
“We are proactively mitigating the impact of the decisions made by the US Department of Commerce,” Liu announced. “Huawei is doing everything we can to make sure the lasting impact of the decision is mitigated, together with our business partners, including the ones from the US.”
Huawei did not reveal any concrete plans for rolling out their own operating system in the future. However, they confirmed its existence.
At today’s press conference, Huawei hit back against the United States and denied any wrongdoing.
“Huawei has been respecting all applicable laws and regulations,” Liu said. “Now Huawei is becoming the victim of the bullying by the US administration.”
Liu said the sanctions against Huawei are a troubling development.
“You should be alarmed with the behaviour of the US administration against Huawei. What happened to the sacrosanct presumption of innocence?” Liu asked. “The founding fathers of the US constitution would be alarmed when confronted with the actions of the Trump administration.”
Huawei reaffirmed their plans to roll out 5G networks in Europe, insisting that while Huawei is a Chinese company, they are also a “European company”.
“Many of the technologies are actually developed by the researchers and scientists in Europe,” Liu said. Huawei employs 12,200 people in Europe.
At the event, Liu announced Huawei’s new campaign during European elections called “Vote for 5G, Vote Smarter”.
The new campaign is “aimed at promoting awareness of 5G opportunities and the potential it has for strengthening European values and solidarity.”
“We want to be at the vanguard of this 5G revolution to boost European’s economy and reinforce the European industry’s leading position,” Liu continued. “We are pleased that Europe is coming out with its coordinated approach to 5G. The European Union has proved its capacity of bringing European countries together to develop some of the most advanced and comprehensive laws.”