Long before President Donald Trump threatened to block Huawei’s access to US technology, the Chinese telecommunications equipment maker invested in research that reduced its need for US suppliers.
Huawei founder says that instead of harming the company, export restrictions make it a tougher competitor, forcing managers to concentrate resources on their most important products.
Little known to Americans, Huawei Technologies Ltd. is the No. 2 smartphone brand in the world and the largest manufacturer of telephone-based switches. Its equipment is used by 45 of the 50 largest world telephone operators.
Huawei needs some American innovations, especially Google’s services used on Android phones, but industry experts say the company is becoming more self-sufficient, spending 485 billion yuan ($65 billion) on research and development over the past decade.
The biggest potential blow for Huawei will be the loss of Google services, which are standard features on Android phones. Huawei may use open-source Android but will lose music, maps, and other Google applications, which will make it difficult to compete with Samsung, the number 1 smartphone brand.
Intel and other vendors, which by industry analysts’ words received about $12 billion from Huawei last year, have asked Trump for permission to continue sales.