Huawei - Ren Zhengfei's interview

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei interviewed CNN. The following is a translation of the full text as recorded and translated by Huawei.

Ren Zhengfei: be straight and ask me any question you want. And I will be honest in my answers to even your most bizarre questions. Do not worry. I like the sincerity of Americans. Don't be afraid to ask any question you want. I was a fan of America when I was young. Today, I still believe that the US is a great nation. Your sophisticated institutes, flexible innovation mechanisms, well-defined property rights, respect for and protection of individual rights have attracted the world's largest investment and innovation talent in the US. Billions of people have participated in this process. If you were not so open, you would not be able to evolve into the most powerful force in the world in just 200 years.

Journalist: Thank you very much Mr Rehn for sitting with us. The mere fact that you are sitting with us I find interesting. To be honest, I don't think six months ago this interview would happen. So why did you decide to give it up now and talk more publicly?

Ren Zjengfei: I am always an open person in reality, but I like to focus on internal management more than external publicity. I really get the culture of the US, and many of our management systems are inspired by the US.

We are working with the media a lot these days. Our PR department considers it to be a particularly important time for us, and because of my personal influence, I have been asked to take a more active role in communicating with the media and perhaps have an impact on the global public. So I understand the biggest interaction with the media in recent days.

Journalist: Understandable. This is the first time you have spoken since Huawei sued the US government for blocking Huawei's access. But if the US feels that Huawe's products threaten their national security, do they have no right to protect their interests?

Ren: At Huawe we have always tried to keep a low profile and we have always been a 'quiet sheep'. No matter what the others said, we always remained silent and did not contradict what was said.

When we expanded into overseas markets, some said we were Communists. Later when I returned to China, others said that we are capitalists because we share the profits of the company with our employees and many of them have high incomes. We do not know whether we are Communists or capitalists, nor do we waste time trying to explain who we are. Instead, we spend our time improving our internal management and providing better products and services so that our customers will understand and accept us.

The US has been attacking us for over 10 years, they haven't started recently. This is because they are suspicious of us. They say we are threatening their national security. But they should provide evidence. Everyone around the world is talking about cyber security today. How did Huawe become the sole target? are Ericson, Cisco and Nokia free of cyber security issues?

There is hardly any Huawe equipment installed in the US. Does this mean that the US does not deal with security issues? If this is the case then the US may persuade other countries not to use Huawe's equipment. But the truth is that US networks are unprotected without Huawe. We feel it is time to clear this up, and we have sued the US government for this. The US is violating its own law. Let's see if they have proof or if we have a problem.

Journalist: If the US were open to this, would you have negotiated greater access to the US? And what would you be willing to offer on the negotiating table on your part?

Ren: If the US were willing to talk, that would already be a positive sign of progress. For many years we have been trying to find an opening to reach out to the US government. Unlike many companies that have tons of people putting pressure on Congress and the government for their benefit, we can only rely on our own actions to prove ourselves. If the US intends to talk, we would be very happy to accept their offer. However, we will not consider entering the US market in the near future.

Journalist: Last question before we go down to have tea. You say your company is not a security risk. The US government claims it is, implicitly calling you a liar. Doesn't that make you angry?

Ren: No, it doesn't make me angry. The US government needs to think again. We have tens of thousands of patents that have contributed to the information society. These patents are of great value to American companies. American industries use it without even knowing it. If the law gives us more rights we will be in a stronger position in America. We have only established patent agreements with Apple, Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung within a specific scope. Other large companies have not obtained permission to use our intellectual property.

Reporter: What is it about Huawei's future that excites you the most?

Ren: What excites me most is the pressure we receive from America. After 30 years of development, we find laziness in the team, a trend of stagnation. Many managers have made enough money and are reluctant to work hard anymore.

Someone famous once said that the easiest way to get rid of a fortress is from the inside, and the easiest way to strengthen it is out. Our fortress fell asleep, complacency has fallen asleep. But the pressure from America has forced us to unite and become one. For me personally this has taken a toll on my shoulders, because our people are still working as hard as they have been in the past. And so I have time to relax and speak good words about America.

I hope our officials do not develop anti-American sentiment. We do not want negative and narrow-minded feelings against the US. We are against populism because in the end populism goes man. We need to learn from how open America is and its progress. So we too can become more sophisticated.

Journalist: So you're telling me what's going on in your company right now is positive!

Ren: Yes!


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