The World’s largest telecommunication maker and the second-largest smartphone maker, Huawei has been under huge criticism since the last few months. With its full-blown trade bans and also extraordinary cancelation of Android license, US has also sought the arrest of Meng Wanzhuou Huawei CFO and also the daughter of CEO Ren Zhengfei in fraud cases.
Where did all the tensions start from?
The Founder of Huawei is the former technologist in the
People’s Liberation Army and it is more closely tied to Government than many
other Chinese Firms. As this company grew, the international concerns also grew
that Huawei’s equipment could be used to spy on Companies and Governments
around the world.
In the Year 2003, the
company was accused of stealing intellectual property and violating international
economic sanction. However, in 2018, the activities of the company signaled a
level of concern in the International intelligence community.
In February 2018, the head of six U.S Intelligence agencies
declared in a Senate Committee that they did not trust Huawei and ZTE, both
based in China. In July 2018, a set of Western Countries plan to publicize
their concerns about allowing Huawei to operate in their country. This led Huawei
under growing backlash from various countries.
Thus, leading Huawei equipment, gadgets and other devices
were banned in many countries and the tension continued to mount for more than
half a year. It started with the carriers pulling out of deal to provide Huawei phones and ended with
banning Huawei equipment.
Huawei blacklisted in the US
Last week, US President Donald Trump added the Chinese
Mobile Company ‘Huawei’ to the list of companies that American Firms cannot
trade with unless they have the license. In the same time, many countries have
also blocked their telecom companies from using Huawei equipment in their 5G
Trump declared a national
emergency and blacklisted the companies
which he seems was an unacceptable risk
for the national security of the US. At the same time,
the US Commerce Department announced an effective ban on the firms dealing with
the Chinese company Huawei.
Google restricted Huawei
American Companies were barred from selling to Huawei without US Government license in a significant escalation of a trade war with China. Similarly, the Internet Giant ‘Google’, that powers Android mobile operating system to most of the telecommunication companies was also ordered to cut off all ties with Huawei.
Huawei is known as the world’s second largest mobile phone
seller and relies on a group of Google services for its smartphones including
Android play store.
However, admiring the order of Trump administration Google started
restricting Huawei’s access to its Android operating system which is believed
to have a serious impact on Huawei’s Android devices. On Monday the spokesperson
of Google declared, “We are complying with the order and reviewing the
Existing devices will be unaffected
Google also presented a statement for Huawei users regarding their steps to comply with the recent US Government action. It said, “We assure you while we are complying with all US Government requirements, services like Google play and Security from Google play protect will keep functioning on the existing Huawei devices”.
For Huawei users’ questions regarding our steps to comply w/ the recent US government actions: We assure you while we are complying with all US gov’t requirements, services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device.
— Android (@Android) May 20, 2019
This means that Huawei will not be able to use Public
version of Android and will not be able to access some of the apps and services
provided by Google but the consumers who already own a Huawei smartphone will
not face any loss.
Most of the Google’s services like Gmail, YouTube, and
Google Maps are already banned in China as Huawei offers alternatives to the
people of China but the company is hugely dependent on the countries other than
Beijing already criticized the US-led campaign against Huawei, at the very first it said Huawei has been building an alternative operating system just in case it is needed.
According to Huawei, it has been working on its OS, “Hongmeng” since 2012. Huawei’s CEO said that they have been developing this OS for such cases. Furthermore, Huawei has already installed the OS on its devices for testing. However, things will be difficult for Huawei’s new OS since Android and iOS already dominate the market and users will be reluctant to shift from it.
A 3-month temporary license issued by the US Commerce Department
Ren Zhengfie the owner of Huawei said that the US was
underestimating Huawei which is the largest manufacturer of telecommunication equipment.
He told state media that he was in discussion with Google on how to deal with the ban.
On Monday after banning the Huawei Devices, Google issued a
90-day temporary license which is set to expire on 19th August. The
license allows Huawei to take necessary action to provide services and support
including the buying of US-made goods to maintain software updates to existing smartphones
that were available to the Public till May 16,
This license will also allow Huawei to maintain its existing
network equipment and also to receive security vulnerability disclosure. It
grants time to telecommunication operators to make alternative arrangements.
This license will allow the operation to
continue on existing mobile phone devices and rural broadband networks.
However, it is
believed that this license may have immediate far-reaching and unintentional
consequences for its users.
Huawei in a statement
said that it will continue to provide updates for the devices already in use by
the public and will also build a safe and sustainable ecosystem to provide a special experience for users globally.
He said that Huawei was prepared for this. The US 90 days
license does not have much impact on us. We are ready. He said we cannot be
isolated from the world as half of the chips used in Huawei equipment come from
the US while the other half are made in China.
He told state media that he was in discussion with Google on how to deal with the ban. He also said that we cannot see
the situation where Huawei will be completely cut off from the US.
Is Huawei making its own app store?
Huawei is a Company with great resources and it was en-route to become
the world number 1 smartphone maker company before the US intervention.
A fresh report from Bloomberg suggests that Huawei’s app gallery which has been presented in
Huawei and Honor Android devices for a while is an earnest effort to build
genuine, alternative to Google Play store.
What is public
opinion about Huawei?
People and most of the analyst believe that the US is trying
to ripple Huawei and destroy the competition. Chinese political analyst said
that Huawei seems a terrible consequence
for the profits of US technology giants.
They say that the emergence of Huawei as the world No 1 smartphone seller has somehow plummeted the
sale of US Giant Tech brand APPLE and IBM. They believe that this is the basic
reality of this trade war.
Even Huawei’s propagandists are attacking Apple for Trump’s trade
war. On the other side, Apple is blaming
Trump’s trade war for disappointing Apple’s sale.
The reaction of Chinese people
Chinese people have stopped buying Apple devices and other US
products, they say that they will shy away to buy any of the product made in the
US. An average of $350 billion a
year-market of US companies are selling in China and if Chinese restrict from buying
the American brand this could have disastrous
consequences for American Business.
It is also believed that ongoing nationalist is going to affect Apple’s sale in China. Last year Apple ranked fifth in China with 9.1 % while this dropped down to 6 in just two days.
Other US Tech Giants stop dealing with Huawei
Google has made its announcement official to stop dealing with Huawei and other tech giants are also following pursuit. Among these are Intel, Xilinx, Qualcomm and Broadcom.
Intel is currently providing Huawei with processors for their laptops and servers whereas Qualcomm provides chips for its budget phones. However, Huawei has its own chip company by the name ‘HiSilicon’ and Huawei says it can handle this blow. Huawei also claims that it has been preparing to deal with such incidents and HiSilicon will be able to ensure steady supply of most parts.
The Race to 5G
US President Donald Trump has emphasized the importance of 5G on many occasions. He said, “the race to 5G is a race that America must win.”
Now, America’s biggest competitor is? Well, you guessed it, China! President Trump also introduced initiatives to speed up the 5G rollout process because he doesn’t want America to finish in second place.
Experts say that blocking out Huawei is Trump administration’s plan to knock out Huawei out of the 5G race. Since Huawei is the world’s biggest supplier of telecommunications equipment and China using a centralized approach to roll out their 5G networks is a threat to the US in the 5G race!
Since Huawei has suffered a massive blow from both hardware and software providers, it would need something extraordinary to keep things steady. It is evident that Huawei’s production and sales will both decline. Moreover, Huawei will lose a major portion of its customers due to the end of the contract by Android which has popularity among people. In the 3 month period provided by Android, Huawei needs to get its game going. Updates on the existing phones will most probably be provided by Huawei through Android open source.