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Making a case for Huawei: Things will be just fine

Making a case for Huawei: Things will be just fine

It’s tough being a Huawei faithful these days, and it’s an even tougher time for businesses to even have anything to do with the company. The world’s second-largest smartphone maker has been hit pretty hard from the ongoing US-China trade war — a damaging impairment just as the tech giant managed to surpass Apple in smartphone sales.

Ever since the Trump administration blacklisted the firm on grounds of alleged espionage and fraud last month, things have been going south for Huawei, now effectively banned from buying US-made tech including essential software (like Google’s Android OS) and microchips (from Intel and Broadcom) it needs for its products. Despite his initial optimism about Trump’s tech crusade, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei expects his company’s revenue to decline by $30 billion, while phone sales overseas fell 40 percent over the past month. 

Huawei users (especially those who just bought their P30 Pros) freaked out and you can’t blame them for it, either. The fear of losing vital Google apps like Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Chrome as well as future updates via Google Play services drove them to offload their phones to willing buyers — if they could even find willing buyers, that is. A bevy of listicles started cropping up online which provided viable alternatives to purchasing Huawei phones, and you can bet your bitcoin that they’re milking the “I’m walking Huawei” jokes. 


Do things really bode that badly, though? It appears to be so, according to the overwhelming online sentiment that the Chinese tech giant will never be able to recover from this setback. But folks often forget that the setback could be temporary; Trump’s known to be a fickle leader, and he could very well decide to reverse the blacklist (or at least declare a truce) should things go exceedingly amicably during his meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping this Saturday. 

Even if things don’t pan out that way, US tech firms have shown that they’re willing and ready to support existing Huawei products. Both Microsoft and Intel have assured that critical software and driver updates for Huawei laptops will not be halted, and that means Matebook users will still be protected from potential security vulnerabilities. 


Prickly as their relationship with Huawei may be, Google has been clear that services such as Google Play and security from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices. We now know as well that current Huawei phones will also get an upgrade to Android Q, the 10th major iteration of the Android mobile operating system. What we don’t know for sure is what’ll happen after that update (or even what’ll happen to future Huawei products), but the company asserted that security software updates will continue to run on all its devices

US chipmakers aren’t willing to sit quietly about the restrictions on Huawei, either. There’s too much money (billions of dollars in expected revenue loss) at stake! Reuters reported that executives from Intel and Xilinx have been lobbying the US government on the down low to ease its ban on sales to Huawei. Their argument is that Huawei’s smartphones and computer servers use commonly available parts, and aren’t as likely to present the same security concerns as its 5G networking gear. 

Aside from its corporate American allies, Huawei still has staunch friends outside the US — especially so in Southeast Asia. Maintaining a middle ground between its key trading partners, Singapore did not take a specific position for or against Huawei, but remains open to having the firm operate a 5G telecommunications network in the city-state so long as it meets the security standards set by the government. 


North of the Singaporean border lies Malaysia, whose prime minister Mahathir Mohamad remains undeterred by the US sanctions. “We are too small to have an impact on the company like Huawei, whose research is far bigger than the whole of Malaysia’s research capabilities,” he said during a dialogue session in Japan. “So we try to make use of their technology as much as possible.”

Then there’s Thailand, which is in the process of rolling out a Huawei-led 5G network service next year. Indonesia’s Telkomsel has already signed up to trial Huawei services. The Philippines might even kick off a Huawei-backed service as early as sometime this year thanks to a partnership with the country’s leading telco firm Globe Telecom. 

Despite the US government’s warnings, European countries are willing to do business with Huawei, with the United Kingdom and Germany finding little reason to suspect the company of malicious intent. In fact, Huawei signed 23 contracts for business deals across Europe. Which perhaps shouldn’t be that surprising considering the company’s pledge to “invest heavily” in countries that welcome it. 

The Chinese company is serious about developing cutting-edge technology — serious enough to sink in US$15.3 billion on research and development in 2018. Which puts the company just behind the much bigger likes of Amazon, Alphabet, and Samsung in terms of innovation investments. 

[[nid:450092]]Only time will tell if all that investment will pay off. For the last seven years, Huawei has been working on its own independent operating system called Hongmeng, which is already rumoured to be 60 times faster than Android. Other wild speculations include how Hongmeng will able able to run both Android and iOS apps, though that seems rather unlikely. Things will get a lot clearer once Huawei launches the operating system this September.

Even if we were to ignore all of the above, it would be a tough gig to criticise Huawei devices past, present and future. People buy their devices for a reason: They’re solid workhorses that range from affordable to premium.


The latest flagship P30 and P30 Pro phones have been considered as mighty as any other big name smartphones, complete with overpowered camera hardware and their own AI capabilities. Even though Huawei just got into the laptop game, its Matebook computers are critically acclaimed, and repeatedly considered one of the best Windows-run devices around. 

Maybe things aren’t that bad for Huawei and Huawei users after all. And if the US does double down on shunning the company, it’ll only serve to throw even more fuel into the long-blazing flames of China’s tech ambitions.

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