Huawei CEO says willing to license 5G technology to a US firm

Huawei CEO says willing to license 5G technology to a US firm

FILE PHOTO: IFA consumer tech fair in Berlin
FILE PHOTO: The Huawei logo is pictured at the IFA consumer tech fair in Berlin, Germany, Sep 6, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo)

HONG KONG: Huawei Technologies founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said on Thursday (Sep 26) the company is willing to license its 5G mobile technology to a US firm, as it seeks to alleviate security concerns over its products.

Ren told reporters he was not afraid of creating a rival by making Huawei's technology available to competitors, and the offer could also include chip design know-how.

Huawei, the world's largest telecoms gear maker, has been on a US trade blacklist since May over concerns that its equipment could be used by Beijing to spy. Huawei has repeatedly denied such allegations.

The sanctions cut off Huawei's access to essential US technologies. The latest version of its Mate 30 flagship phone, unveiled last week in Europe, will not come with Google Mobile Services.

READ: Huawei Mate 30: No Google Play – but there’s S$1.38 billion for app developers

Ren's remarks come after he said this month that he is open to selling the firm's 5G technology - including patents, code, blueprints and production know-how - to Western firms for a one-off fee.

The offer to license out 5G technology marks the latest attempt by Huawei, also the world's second-largest smartphone vendor, to minimise the impact of the US trade ban. It expects a hit of some US$10 billion to revenue from its phone business this year.

READ: Huawei says US curbs to cut smartphone unit's revenue by over US$10 billion

READ: Huawei dismisses new suspension of 'unjust' US ban

In May, the US put Huawei on its so-called Entity List, which threatens to cut off its access to essential US components and technology, including Google's applications and services. 

American companies were banned from selling most US parts and components to Huawei without special licences, raising concerns about the company's supply chain.

Washington has alleged that Huawei is a national security risk, though the firm has repeatedly denied that its equipment could be used by Beijing for spying. Huawei has since announced that it is developing its own operating system.

READ: Huawei unveils Harmony operating system, but won't ditch Android for smartphones

Last month, Huawei said the trade restrictions on its business will be less than what it initially predicted.

The firm's smartphone sales in China surged by nearly a third compared to a year ago in the June quarter, helping offset a shipment slump in the global market. 

Source: Reuters/nr/ga