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Huawei founder speaks out: ‘The US can’t crush us’

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In the first interview since his daughter was arrested, Ren Zhengfei says the world needs Huawei.

Illustration by William Joel / The Verge

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei basically just said his company is too big and too important to fail.

In his first public interview since his daughter — Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou — was arrested in December, he tells the BBC that the US government’s accusations and criminal indictments, including fraud and the theft of trade secrets, won’t be enough to “crush” Huawei.

“There’s no way the US can crush us,” he said. “The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced. Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit.”

Wanzhou was arrested in Canada at the request of US law enforcement, and the US is attempting to extradite her to stand charges here.

Huawei has faced intense scrutiny in the United States, where government officials say the company poses a national security threat, and that it could be used as a vessel for spying by the Chinese government. Huawei has repeatedly denied that would happen, but lawmakers have already moved to curb the company’s presence in America, and President Trump is expected to issue an executive order further limiting equipment sales in the US.

Earlier today, British intelligence sources reportedly claimed that the cybersecurity risks of using Huawei’s 5G equipment would be manageable.