Since late 2018, Huawei has been suffering from being blocked by the United States. The country has been using all means to completely block Huawei, whether it be the Meng Wanzhou incident, imposing entity list, or lobbying allies to ban the Chinese high-tech company. In response, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei has been taking media interviews, initiated a massive global public relations campaign. It also spent large amounts of money on its lobbying efforts in the United States, and sued the US government.
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After more than a year of relentless efforts, Huawei’s self-rescue measures have finally come into effect recently. According to the latest news, Western countries, such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Austria, have announced that Huawei is allowed to engage in the construction of local 5G network. The EU also published 5G security guidelines last month, stating that it is not recommended that member states ban any company from engaging in 5G network building.
The reasons why Huawei has survived attacks from the US come down to two main factors. On one hand, in its attempt to utilize technology to counteract the political uncertainties, the company has been focusing on technology research and development to make itself more irreplaceable. On the other hand, they conducted dialogues through interviews with Western media, using their PR art to eliminate the misunderstandings towards Huawei among the Western world.
With its lead in 5G technology, its biggest strength, Huawei is able to break through this time. According to a report released by German patent database company IPlytics in November, Huawei ranks first in the world in terms of both independent 5G patents and 5G patent standard, ahead of companies like Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and LG.
In addition, Huawei also leads in global 5G standard essential patent (SEP) applications, surpassing international telecom giants such as Samsung, LG, Nokia and Ericsson.
Although Huawei only ranks fourth globally in terms of patent grants, considering the lengthy patent application processes, the number of 5G patent applications still indicates the latest developments of telecom companies in 5G sector. Emerging giants like Huawei and Samsung often tend to lead in patent applications, while established players such as Nokia lead in patent grants.
For now, China, South Korea, and Europe are the leaders in 5G construction, and the US has fallen far behind in this race, which is the main reason why the country has been relentlessly targeting Huawei.
Apart from its technological strength, Huawei has also launched an aggressive public relations campaign in the past year in order to clear up the misunderstanding among Western countries.
Nowadays, since the West dominates the media, Huawei as a Chinese company has always been regarded as heresy by many Western countries. The background of Ren Zhengfei, a former army engineer, has also put Huawei at a disadvantage. However, the attacks from the US just gives the world a chance to know more about Huawei.
Throughout the past year, Ren Zhengfei has been taking dozens of interviews from foreign media. In those interviews, Ren Zhengfei showcased his eloquence, putting the US’s efforts to stigmatize Huawei in vain. The communications mainly delivered three basic ideas to Western society.
Firstly, Huawei is an absolute private enterprise and strictly abides by the laws of every country it operates in. It does not have any ambitions to engage in any political and intelligence wars.
Secondly, Huawei is highly advanced in 5G technology. For any country, banning Huawei from bidding for 5G construction projects will be detrimental to its economic interests and drag down its 5G development.
In order to demonstrate Huawei’s technology leads, Ren repeatedly pointed to his company’s patent volume, high cost performance, 5G station shipments, and the number of 5G commercial contracts. Their advertising of the quality and affordability of Huawei’s 5G communication equipments may bring the world to the realization that blocking Huawei is against the national interests.
Thirdly, in case of a supply cutoff by the United States, Huawei will still be able to continuously provide solid 5G construction services to countries, and will not fall because of the United States’ crackdown.
Although Huawei’s 5G technology has taken the lead, many countries are still afraid that the company may be overthrown by the US, jeopardizing their own telecommunication constructions. Therefore, in order to emphasize Huawei’s continuous service capabilities, Ren repeatedly mentioned the self-developed projects, including Huawei Mobile Services(HMS) and Harmony operating system, as well as the replacement rates of domestic parts. That is to say, Huawei can survive from the US’s ban and fulfill its potential.
When it comes to telecommunication network construction that involves national interests, most countries will be very cautious. Therefore, despite Huawei’s technological lead, if it lives with the stigmatizing by the United States and is regarded as the backdoor of Chinese intelligence agencies, many countries may be too threatened to use Huawei products.
However, thanks to Ren’s media blitz over the past year or so, Huawei has dispelled concerns among the leaders of many countries, showing the security of its products. And its willingness to embrace security scrutiny is in stark contrast to the United States’s exposed moves to spy on its allies through backdoor programs.