During a small gathering of journalists in China, Ren Zhengfei made his first public remarks since Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States. The Huawei CEO struck a hopeful tone for those gathered around the table, in comments reported by CNBC among others.
“I would welcome such phone calls and the message is around joint development and shared success,” the executive said, noting a readiness to speak with the new administration in translated remarks. “The U.S. wants to have economic growth and China wants to have economic growth as well.”
Huawei’s future in the U.S. has been a major question mark hanging over the new administration. Under Trump, a number of high-profile Chinese companies were added to the Commerce Department’s so-called “entity list” to various effects. Huawei has been among the hardest hit by the moves.
In addition to blocking sales in the world’s third-largest smartphone market, the company has been unable to work with key U.S. companies, including Google. That, in turn, has blocked access to key technologies, including the Android ecosystem and left Huawei scrambling. The company’s support among consumers has increased within China, but the move has been a big blow to the smartphone maker’s bottom line.
The incoming Biden administration has mostly been quiet on the matter. Facing mounting criticism from Republican lawmakers, Commerce Secretary nominee Gina Raimondo has since added that, “I currently have no reason to believe that entities on those lists should not be there. If confirmed, I look forward to a briefing on these entities and others of concern.”
While there haven’t been many positive signs for Huawei thus far, the company’s chief understandably would prefer to make nice with the new administration.
“If Huawei’s production capacity can be expanded, that would mean more opportunities for U.S. companies to supply too,” Zhengfei said in the translated comments. “I believe that’s going to be mutually beneficial. I believe that (the) new administration would bear in mind such business interests as they are about to decide their new policy.”