Since mid-May, the bad news follows for Huawei: the firm is under fire from US sanctions that exclude de facto market and technology companies based in the United States. Google, ARM, several founders, and many partners have been forced to break their relationship with the manufacturer. Here’s all you need to know about this case and a possible way out of the crisis.
Once is not custom, everything is not from a tweet. On May 15, 2019, Donald Trump signed a presidential decree that forbids US telecom companies from sourcing from certain foreign companies. Especially if the executive feels that they pose a risk to national security.
In the process, the US Department of Commerce has established a “list of Entities” that are excluded from the US technologies and market. Since then, Huawei has had to revise its objectives downward, but the firm of Ren Zhengfei, hostage to negotiations between the United States and China is resisting, for the moment, and shows amazing adaptability.
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Huawei case: the context
It has been several months since a leitmotiv resounded in the corridors of the White House: “the trade balance of the United States is far too much in favor of China”. An assertion, certainly simplistic, but that the American executive decided to attack with arms on the body.
So the US administration has established a strategy for the least aggressive and unilateral. The country demands that China establish a new trade agreement – one of which is to better protect American intellectual property.
The parties are close to an agreement, but the negotiations stumble on one point: China refuses to transcribe some of its commitment in its law.
Donald Trump has announced the lifting of new tariffs – which are now 25% on a series of technology products for more than $ 300 billion.
What is the relationship with the Huawei case? In parallel with its stance with China, the US administration has for months been suspicious of Huawei. But it would be wrong to believe that Huawei’s troubles began under the Trump administration. In fact, the mistrust of the United States begins in 2007.
At the time, Huawei is positioning itself to buy the American 3COM. An OPA that could seem innocuous, especially since Huawei was already working closely with the firm, and it would control only 16.5% after the operation.
Huawei: a mistrust that does not date from yesterday (or Trump)
But the controversy settles under the Bush administration, which ends up blocking the buyout – and accuses Huawei of lack of transparency.
In 2008, the deal is irretrievably canceled amid fears for national security. In the wake, the FBI is investigating Ren Zhengfei, the founder of Huawei, who allegedly violated US sanctions against Iran.
A year later, the British operator BT receives a warning from the authorities: there would be significant security breaches in Huawei equipment.
A warning that will lead the operator to part with all Huawei equipment from 2018. Vodafone also claims to have found backdoors in equipment brand between 2009 and 2011, but chose to reveal nothing before 2019.
Since Huawei highlights having corrected the flaws that touched his equipment. In 2010 Motorola filed a complaint against the firm for economic espionage, before finding an agreement in 2011.
In the wake, Huawei tries to buy the US operator Sprint, but the purchase ends up being blocked under the Obama administration, for reasons of national security. The year 2010 ends with an attempt to buy the American 3Leaf Systems, which ends up ending up again, for lack of a statement to the authorities.
Faced with this rain of rejections, Huawei then publishes an open letter, in which the firm defends itself to be the puppet of the Chinese government.
The letter also discusses at length the military past of Ren Zhengfei, its founder, often cited as the reason for this mistrust.
Despite this chronic rejection, Huawei is investing heavily in the United States.
For example, in 2011, the firm built a huge R & D center in California, hoping to establish itself in the country.
It also proposes to build a national wireless network to help emergency services.
A proposal blocked again by the Obama administration for reasons of national security. Meanwhile, Australia decides to exclude Huawei from its national broadband network. After 11 months of investigation, in 2012, the US Congress publishes an often-cited report that concludes that Huawei and ZTE are not trustworthy.
The report points to an unusual Huawei attitude and accuses the firm of sending data to China. The report focuses on network node devices and not smartphones.
In 2013, the owner of Sprint undertakes not to use Huawei equipment. At the same time,
one of the company’s executives has been linked by a Hong Kong-based company that has tried to sell US technology to Iran,which is still under sanctions (which will have serious consequences). a bit later).
Documents that leaked via Edward Snowden also evoke Huawei, including Operation Shotgiant, in which the United States attacked Huawei servers and used its equipment to spy on the company. As early as 2015,
Ren Zhengfei finds himself forced to repeat that Huawei is not spying on the Chinese government.
In 2015 the US Department of Commerce sanctions Huawei for not respecting US sanctions against Cuba, North Korea, Syria, and Sudan. But it is good, it was said to you, under the Trump administration that things have accelerated in this matter
Huawei case: the key dates
January 20, 2017: Donald Trump arrives at the White House
The starting point for real trouble for Huawei is therefore undoubtedly the election of Donald J Trump in the United States.
This statesman, whom some people call populist, stands out from his predecessors by an impulsive, aggressive and one-sided style. Its slogan “Make America Great Again” is set up as a protectionist political agenda.
A paradox for a country that has hitherto been the architect of globalization.
Soon, the administration looks at China’s intellectual property practices.
And the famous question of the trade balance, one of the themes of his campaign, is starting to become a real melody. End of 2017 – the beginning of January 2018 marks the beginning of the trade war between the United States and China.
The United States is beginning to threaten China to lift new tariffs.
February 13, 2018: FBI director Chris Wray advises against buying Huawei and ZTE smartphones, the CIA and the NSA follow suit
Six intelligence service bosses heard at a Senate committee expressed concern over Huawei’s entry into the US market .
Among them, we find no less than the FBI boss Chris Way and his counterparts from the CIA and the NSA. According to them, US citizens should not use any products or services of the Chinese brand, or ZTE, also included in the discussions.
They are upset by the possibility of “changing or stealing information” in these smartphones and the ability “to operate undetectable espionage.”
May 2, 2018: Pentagon bans Huawei and ZTE devices at military bases
In the wake of intelligence agencies, the Pentagon has decided to ban Huawei and ZTE devices at military bases.
” These devices would present unacceptable security risks […] due to security concerns about ZTE mobile phones and other products, the (Pentagon) stores have also removed ZTE products .”
August 1, 2018: Huawei passes in front of Apple
Huawei sold 12.9 million smartphones in addition to Apple in the second quarter of 2018, making it the world’s second largest. Huawei then holds a 15.8% market share.
Huawei and ZTE are excluded from the 5G race in Australia on the authorities’ decision that they are “likely to be subject to extrajudicial orders from a foreign government that could come into conflict with Australian law.”
November 26, 2018: France refuses to ban Huawei but is wary
France refuses to ban Huawei, including the deployment of the 5G network. If restrictions could be put in place, especially near sensitive sites, or for strategic purposes, the French government gives operators the freedom to choose their equipment.
December 6, 2018: Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wangzhou Arrested in Canada
The arrest took place at the request of the United States, who wishes to be extradited. The country wants explanations on allegations of economic sanctions against Iran.
December 12, 2018: Meng Wangzhou released on bail
Meng Wangzhou, who is also the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was released on bail of C $ 10 million (€ 6.6 million).
She is obliged to remain in the state. from British Columbia and wears an electronic bracelet. Five people have vouched for her, including the CEO of Lionsgate Risk Management.
January 24, 2019: Huawei sees itself in front of Samsung in 2020
Huawei continues in the early years of his crazy growth, like many of his fellow Chinese (Xiaomi, OnePlus, Oppo …).
However, at this stage, and according to its projections, it is likely to dethrone Samsung in 2020, and even by 2019.
February-May 2019: the United States exert more pressure on its European allies to cease to use Huawei products (but it is not very effective)
In recent months the United States has redoubled its efforts to push their European allies to ban Huawei.
So at the beginning of the month, the Commission is wondering whether Community rules should not be established.
However, from mid-February, British intelligence announces that the equipment of the manufacturer does not pose a great threat .
After weeks of reflection, Germany has also decided not to exclude 5G equipment from the manufacturer. This did not stop the US from coming back at the end of May .
February 20, 2019: Ren Zhengfei believes that measures targeting Meng Wangzhou and 5G deployment are politically motivated in an interview
The builder’s founder believes that Meng Wangzhou’s arrest in Canada was politically motivated and that the US treats 5G as a military technology.
February 24, 2019: Huawei unveils Mate X its first foldable smartphone
The Huawei Mate X is a highly innovative foldable smartphone,
which seems to solve some of the criticisms made to its rival Samsung’s Samsung Galaxy Fold despite a higher price and an out-of-the-box approach that raises questions as to the lifespan of the device.
March 7, 2019: Huawei files suit against the United States
Huawei has decided to fight against the ban it is now subject to in US government equipment tenders.
March 26, 2019: launch of the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro
The P30s still perform a tour de force in the night photo. The Pro version, in particular, has a particularly powerful optical zoom. All presented by an exceptional AMOLED screen.
May 15, 2019: Trump invokes national security to exclude Huawei from US market and technology
In a real twist, Donald Trump decided to exclude Huawei from the market but also from American technologies. The President invokes national security. In the process, the US Department of Commerce has put in place a so-called list of entities – so many companies excluded from the US market.
In the wake of the decree and the US decision, Google was forced to withdraw its Android license to Huawei. This means, among other things, that Huawei will no longer be able to install Google Play Store and its suite applications on its smartphones. The next day we learn that the firm is subject to a stay of 90 days expiring in August.
May 2019: HongMeng OS, AppGallery … Huawei prepares its alternatives to Android and Google Play Store
In the wake of the exclusion, the firm would have accelerated its strategy to no longer depend on Android and the Play Store. So we learned that his home bones could be called HongMeng OS . The manufacturer is also leading a campaign to win the developers and rally App Gallery, it’s alternative to the App Store.
May 22, 2019: new blow, ARM cuts bridges
ARM has ceased all collaboration with Huawei and its founder HiSilicon – which complicates the future efforts of the manufacturer in the semiconductor.
May 26, 2019: Ren Zhengfei refuses Apple to be a victim of Chinese retaliation
In an interview, the founder of Huawei refuses Apple is the target of Chinese retaliation.
June 19, 2019: the company drops its smartphone production P30 and Mate 30
Reports from China point to a reduction in the production of P30 and Mate 30 on a background of uncertainty. At the same time, the firm tries to reassure on the economic impact of its exclusion.
June 25, 2019: Companies like Intel and Micron start to circumvent the exclusion
Intel, Micron and other lawyers have found tips to legally circumvent the ban on trading with Huawei.
June 29, 2019: Donald Trump announces the lifting of some of the sanctions against Huawei on the sidelines of the G20
Xi Jinping and Donald Trump are expected to meet on the sidelines of the G20, and as expected many observers, the two leaders begin a de-escalation of tension. Huawei can once again source from US companies. The next day, however, we learned that this only concerned the products already available – Huawei remains on the list of Entities.
July 1, 2019: a Nokia executive insists – Huawei is a security threat
Marcus Weldon, chief technology officer at Nokia took advantage of an interview at BBC to say that Huawei is still a security threat. Words of which the management of the group has disassociated itself. Nokia is one of the first beneficiaries of Huawei order deferrals to deploy 5G networks.
July 2, 2019: Huawei is still waiting for an authorization from the United States to recover its Android license
Following the relaxation announced by Donald Trump, can Huawei finally recover his Android license, which allows him to install a version of the OS certified by Google on its smartphones? “We take note of President Trump’s Huawei announcements over the weekend and we will be waiting for advice from the Ministry of Commerce,” said Tim Danks, vice president of risk management and relationship at Huawei.
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