The relationship between the US and Chinese phone maker Huawei has officially boiled over. The tensions have been mounting for nearly a year a half, starting with carriers pulling out of deals to provide Huawei phones and escalating to full-blown trade bans and the unprecedented revocation of Huawei’s Android license. All the while, the US has sought the extradition of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, on fraud charges.
The primary source of the controversy, however, is the long-held belief from lawmakers and the US intelligence community that Huawei acts on behalf of the Chinese government, undermining US national security and posing cybersecurity and privacy risks for American and UK customers. With Huawei cut out of Google’s official Android licensing program, the company’s future hangs in the balance, creating uncertainty about the future of Chinese businesses amid President Donald Trump’s trade war and raising serious questions about Huawei’s role in the Windows and 5G ecosystems going forward.
Sep 26, 2021
US agrees not to pursue fraud charges against Huawei CFO
Reuters and the CBC first reported that Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou would appear in a Brooklyn federal courtroom today via streaming video and enter a plea regarding US charges against her. Canadian authorities arrested the Chinese executive in December 2018 on suspicion of violating US sanctions, and she has remained there on house arrest ever since, fighting US attempts at extradition. Hearings in her extradition case ended in August, with the ruling scheduled for October 21st.Read Article >
Meng was indicted on fraud charges claiming the Chinese technology and telecommunications company misrepresented its relationship with an Iranian affiliate, along with accusations it stole intellectual property from T-Mobile. The 13-count indictment named Meng, Huawei, and two of its subsidiaries — Huawei USA and Skycom.
May 25, 2021
Huawei founder says company should dodge sanctions by pivoting to software
Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei has reportedly urged the Chinese tech giant’s staff to turn the company into a major software force as a way to alleviate the impact of devastating US sanctions. In an internal memo viewed by Reuters, Ren says that Huawei should focus on software because the industry is “outside of US control and we will have greater independence and autonomy.”Read Article >
Huawei is presently unable to mass-produce much of its hardware products because of sanctions forbidding US firms from doing business with it. The company stockpiled chips and components in an attempt to mitigate the sanctions, but the reserves are limited and in some cases will be swiftly obsoleted. Huawei is also blocked from using Google apps and services on its smartphones. The Biden administration hasn’t suggested that it will reverse any of the Trump-era sanctions, although the US has eased off its moves against other Chinese companies like Xiaomi and TikTok.
Jan 14, 2021
Trump administration blacklists Xiaomi as a ‘Communist Chinese military company’
With six days left in office, the Trump administration has decided to put one more Chinese electronics giant in its sights: Xiaomi, the world’s number three phone manufacturer. The US Department of Defense is now designating Xiaomi as a “Chinese Communist military company,” meaning it’s now vulnerable to Trump’s executive order that bans the US from investing in such companies — and might force US companies and other US investors to divest in Xiaomi on November 11th, 2021, as reported by Reuters.Read Article >
In a statement sent to The Verge, Xiaomi maintains that it’s “operating in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations of jurisdictions where it conducts its businesses.” The spokesperson contends that Xiaomi “is not owned, controlled or affiliated with the Chinese military, and is not a ‘Communist Chinese Military Company’ defined under the NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act].” Xiaomi says it’s now reviewing the potential consequences of the DoD designation before taking action.
Sep 8, 2020
Samsung reportedly cutting off chip sales to Huawei
Samsung and SK Hynix will reportedly stop selling components to Huawei as the Trump administration tightens sanctions on the Chinese phone maker. According to Chosun Ilbo and other Korean news outlets, the companies will suspend trade on September 15th, the day a new set of rules limits dealing with Huawei.Read Article >
These sanctions were introduced in August, following a string of other restrictions implemented since last year. They ban non-American companies from selling components that were developed with US technology unless these companies obtain special approval. This poses a serious threat to Huawei, which has said it may no longer be able to make its Kirin chipsets. Conversely, Huawei’s business is valuable to many other companies, as it recently became the top-selling smartphone manufacturer. Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC reportedly suspended sales to Huawei this May after an earlier round of restrictions. Huawei called those rules “arbitrary and pernicious.”
Mar 25, 2020
Living a Google-free life with a Huawei phone
Tomorrow Huawei will launch its latest flagship phones, the P40 series, at an event to be streamed online. There won’t be any people in the audience, of course, but even if there were, the atmosphere would be pretty weird. That’s because it’s impossible to separate Huawei’s consumer products from the political onslaught it’s faced in the past couple of years.Read Article >
Whether you believe that Huawei is a threat to national security in the West or not, the knock-on effects to its phone business are real. Google is barred from doing business with Huawei, meaning the Chinese giant is unable to obtain an Android license. And that means that until further notice, any new Huawei phone has to ship without Google apps and services.
Feb 21, 2020
Google addresses Huawei ban and warns customers not to sideload apps like Gmail and YouTube
Google on Friday evening published a support article meant to clarify the ongoing situation with Huawei. Last year, the United States government barred companies in the US from working with the Chinese hardware maker. “Google is prohibited from working with Huawei on new device models or providing Google’s apps including Gmail, Maps, YouTube, the Play Store and others for preload or download on these devices,” Tristan Ostrowski, legal director for Android and Google Play, wrote in the post, which was picked up by 9to5Google.Read Article >
According to Google, there’s still plenty of confusion around what’s going on — and exactly which products are subject to the Google services ban.
Feb 13, 2020
Arrested Huawei executive hit with new US charges ahead of extradition
The US Justice Department indicted both Huawei and its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou for racketeering and conspiring to steal American trade secrets on Thursday. Meng was arrested in Canada in 2018, and is currently undergoing extradition proceedings that would move her to the US. This latest indictment adds 16 counts of conspiracy to the trade secrets and racketeering charges already levied against her.Read Article >
In its press release, the DOJ accuses Huawei and Meng of nearly 20 years of efforts to steal the intellectual property of US businesses, including “source code and user manuals for internet routers, antenna technology and robot testing technology,” to develop its own business. According to the indictment, Huawei entered into a number of confidential agreements with American companies to obtain the IP.
Feb 11, 2020
Feds claim Huawei can snoop on mobile networks
US officials say Huawei maintains backdoors into telecom networks across the world, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.Read Article >
The news comes after years of escalating sanctions against the company — including an executive order in May that prohibited US companies from licensing tech to Huawei — but the justifications for those sanctions have remained vague and clouded by secrecy. Now, officials are getting specific, claiming the Chinese hardware manufacturer has maintained backdoors into some of the networks it builds, starting as early as 4G equipment sold in 2009. There’s also no hard evidence of the capability, but the claims are more specific than ever, and now coming from some of the nation’s top national security officials.
Feb 6, 2020
US attorney general says tech and telecom industries should invest in Huawei competitors
The Trump administration’s latest suggestion for combating the dominance of Chinese telecom giant Huawei: invest in its European competitors. The idea comes from US Attorney General William Barr, a former top lawyer for Verizon, who floated the notion of pushing members of the technology and telecom industries to invest in Ericsson and Nokia when speaking to a crowd at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC on Thursday, according to The Wall Street Journal.Read Article >
The move represents yet more escalation in Trump’s increasingly ugly standoff with Huawei, a Chinese corporation many of the world’s tech and telecom companies rely on for vital hardware and software that forms the backbone of cell networks and other communications infrastructure. Yet Huawei is also a company the US intelligence industry deems a national security threat due to its alleged ties to the Chinese government, ties Huawei denies. (Not in dispute is the fact that Huawei was helped significantly in its path to becoming a global telecom juggernaut, thanks to investments and market advantages handed out by Beijing.)
Feb 5, 2020
US pushing tech and telecom industries to build 5G alternative to Huawei
The Trump administration is trying to accelerate efforts to break ties with Chinese tech giant Huawei when it comes to building out next-generation 5G cell networks, The Wall Street Journal reports. The goal is to create common engineering standards for 5G networks that would allow tech and telecom companies to use US-made equipment over Huawei’s. As it stands right now, Huawei is the world’s leading telecom hardware provider, and its best-in-class products are sold to large companies that help cell towers and smartphones communicate, among other technical feats.Read Article >
“The big-picture concept is to have all of the US 5G architecture and infrastructure done by American firms, principally,” Larry Kudlow, a White House economic adviser, tells the WSJ. “That also could include Nokia and Ericsson because they have big US presences.” Since President Donald Trump took office in early 2017, the White House has taken aim at the Chinese tech industry over both security concerns and trade agreements.
Jan 25, 2020
US pulls rule that would have made it harder for American companies to sell to Huawei
The US Department of Commerce has pulled a potential regulation would have made it more difficult for US companies to sell to Huawei, according to sources who spoke with the Wall Street Journal, after the Pentagon and Treasury Department protested the rule.Read Article >
Right now, US companies can sell chips or other electronic goods to Huawei from their overseas locations without an export license as long as those goods are made with less than 25 percent of materials or patents that aren’t made by US companies.
Dec 3, 2019
Huawei’s Mate 30 contains no American parts
When the extent of the Trump administration’s sanctions targeting Huawei became clear, we wondered whether the Chinese telecoms giant would be able to make a smartphone without American components. The answer, according to a new teardown reported on by The Wall Street Journal, is apparently yes.Read Article >
The analysis by UBS and Fomalhaut Techno Solutions says that Huawei’s Mate 30 contains no US parts at all. Huawei appears to have found non-American suppliers for several critical components. For example, it’s now sourcing audio amplifiers from the Netherlands’ NXP rather than Cirrus Logic, relying entirely on its own HiSilicon semiconductor division for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips rather than Broadcom, and using other companies like Japan’s Murata and Taiwan’s MediaTek for other parts previously supplied by US manufacturers.
Aug 16, 2019
Huawei may challenge Google Maps’ dominance with its own mapping tech
Huawei is developing a “mapping service,” according to a report by state-run news outlet China Daily, seemingly designed to challenge Google Maps — but not the way you might expect. The service is apparently intended for software developers, meaning apps that offer navigation or ride-hailing services could use Huawei’s planned mapping technology instead of building their own.Read Article >
A Huawei exec told China Daily that the mapping service, called Map Kit, will offer developers a street navigation system they can use in their apps as well as a way to show users real-time traffic conditions. The exec also said that Map Kit will support “augmented-reality mapping.” It’s unclear what that means. Perhaps it’s something similar to Google’s recently launched AR walking directions.
Aug 15, 2019
Huawei delays Mate X launch beyond September
Huawei’s Mate X has suffered another delay. The company told TechRadar at a press event in China that there is “no possibility” of the folding phone making its September launch date, which itself was pushed back from the original planned June release. The Mate X is also unlikely to be released before November, according to the report, though Huawei is said to be “certain” that it’ll come out at some point this year.Read Article >
TechRadar doesn’t elaborate on the reason for the delay. It’s not clear whether Huawei is doing extra technical diligence to avoid the kind of embarrassing false start Samsung experienced with the Galaxy Fold, or whether the company’s uncertain status with crucial partners like Arm and Google is holding the release back. Either way, it looks like the tweaked Galaxy Fold will beat the Mate X to market.
Aug 9, 2019
Huawei’s new operating system is called HarmonyOS
Huawei has officially announced HarmonyOS, the operating system it was rumored to be developing to replace its reliance on Android. In China, the software will be known as Hongmeng. The company says the operating system, a microkernel-based distributed OS, can be used in everything from smartphones to smart speakers, wearables, and in-vehicle systems to create a shared ecosystem across devices. The operating system will be released as an open-source platform worldwide to encourage adoption.Read Article >
There’s been a lot of speculation about Huawei’s in-house operating system ever since Google suspended the company’s Android license back in May, following the US government’s decision to put Huawei on the Entity List. Huawei has made no secret of the fact that it’s been working on its own OS, but the extent to which it would be able to act as a substitute for Android is unclear.
Jul 30, 2019
Huawei smartphone sales up 24 percent despite US crackdown
Huawei made 221.6 billion yuan ($32.2 billion) in revenue in the April-June quarter, a 23 percent increase over the previous quarter despite the escalation of the US-China trade war cutting off its business with American companies. Net profit margin was 8.7 percent on 401.3 billion yuan ($58.3 billion) of revenue for the first six months of 2019.Read Article >
Huawei sold 118 million smartphones in the first half of the year — 59 million in each quarter — representing a 24 percent year-on-year increase, though the growth was accounted for in the first quarter. Huawei’s consumer business reached 220.8 billion yuan ($32.1 billion) in revenue for the same period, making up 55 percent of the company’s total sales.
Jul 19, 2019
Huawei says its Hongmeng OS isn’t an Android replacement after all
After a torrid few months, Huawei is now downplaying the idea that its homegrown Hongmeng operating system could serve as a drop-in replacement for Google’s Android on its smartphones. SVP Catherine Chen told reporters in Brussels yesterday that Hongmeng is not designed for smartphones and that Huawei plans to continue using Android, Chinese state news agency Xinhua reports.Read Article >
This follows similar comments last week from chairman Liang Hua, who said in comments reported by TechNode that “[Huawei hasn’t] decided yet if the Hongmeng OS can be developed as a smartphone operating system in the future.” Liang says the system was designed as a low-latency solution for IoT devices, while Chen describes it as being “for industrial use.”
Jul 14, 2019
Huawei will reportedly lay off hundreds of US workers
Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei is reportedly preparing to lay off hundreds of workers in the United States, reports The Wall Street Journal. The company has struggled in recent months after the Trump administration placed a de facto ban on US sales to the company, citing potential security threats and amidst the ongoing US-Chinese trade war.Read Article >
According to the WSJ, Huawei is planning to lay off workers at a research subsidiary called Futurewei Technologies, which operates a number of research labs. Huawei will reportedly allow some Chinese employees the option of relocating back to China to remain within the company. Some employees have apparently already been notified that they will be let go, with other layoffs planned in the near future.
Jul 12, 2019
Huawei’s first 5G phone is launching this month
Huawei’s debut 5G phone, the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G, will launch in select markets before the end of July, despite continued uncertainty around Huawei’s future as a manufacturer of Android devices. China’s state-run Global Times reports that the phone will go on sale in China on July 26th, while VentureBeat notes that the phone is currently available to preorder from Amazon’s Italian site with a release date of July 22nd, and will be available in the UAE on July 12th.Read Article >
The Huawei Mate 20 X 5G is very similar to the existing Mate 20 X externally, with the same 7.2-inch screen, and trio of rear cameras. However, internally its components have been upgraded slightly to handle the demands of its 5G Balong 5000 modem. Most notably, the battery has been increased from 4,200mAh to 5,000mAh, its RAM has increased from 6GB to 8GB, and its storage has been boosted from 128GB to 256GB.
Jul 3, 2019
Trump’s latest Huawei announcement has left US companies in limbo
When President Trump announced plans over the weekend to ease trade restrictions on Huawei, it seemed to upend America’s crackdown on the Chinese tech giant.Read Article >
“At the request of our High Tech companies, and President Xi, I agreed to allow Chinese company Huawei to buy product from them which will not impact our National Security,” Trump tweeted after a meeting with the Chinese president. Tech stocks have soared in the wake of the statement, anticipating a rollback to the damage done by the commerce order in May.
Jun 29, 2019
Trump says he could lift Huawei sanctions after Xi meeting
The G20 Summit wrapped up today in Japan, during which US President Donald Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Following their meeting, Trump announced that the two countries would resume trade talks and that the US would hold off on implementing new tariffs indefinitely. He also indicated that US companies would be permitted to resume sales to Huawei, although it’s unclear when or how that will happen.Read Article >
In May, Trump signed an executive order that allowed the US government to block sales by US companies to foreign firms deemed a security risk. It’s not immediately clear what — or if any — steps have been taken to lift the restriction on sales to the beleaguered Chinese technology company. According to The Washington Post, Trump told reporters that he will be meeting with US officials to ease the pressure on Huawei, but also that they haven’t made a formal decision to lift them yet, while The Wall Street Journal reports that he indicated that the two countries will leave what to do with the company until the end of the negotiations.
Jun 21, 2019
FedEx refused to deliver a Huawei phone into the US
If you were planning to ship a Huawei phone to America, you might be in for a surprise. This week, writers at PCMag tried to ship a Huawei P30 from a UK office to a US one, and were surprised to find it sent back a few days later. Since the sender had identified the phone down to the IMEI number, it was clear from the beginning that box contained a Huawei phone, but the package was actually shipped all the way from London to Indianapolis — from the UK’s Parcelforce to its US partner FedEx — until a legal issue emerged and the shipment was returned to the UK. According to the attached notice, the problem was a “US government issue with Huawei and China government.”Read Article >
Crucially, there wasn’t a specific law referenced; the company simply decided it would rather not take on the trouble of figuring out if this was kosher or not. Always thorough in the face of confusion, the PCMag folks checked with UPS, too, who said it would be happy to accept such a shipment. They checked with Huawei, too, who said it was a complete misinterpretation of the US orders.
Jun 21, 2019
Huawei announces three new phones amid continued uncertainty
Huawei has announced three new devices, the Nova 5, Nova 5 Pro, and Nova 5i, alongside a brand new 7nm Kirin 810 chipset, reports GizmoChina. The launch comes as Huawei continues to face an uncertain future outside of China after Google suspended its Android license last month, meaning that it’s unclear how long these phones will continue to receive Android updates. It’s also uncertain if and for how long these phones would have access to the Google Play Store if they’re released outside of China.Read Article >
The new Kirin 810 chipset can be found in the Nova 5, while the more expensive Nova 5 Pro has the flagship Kirin 980 processor found in Huawei’s P30 Pro and Mate 20. The new Kirin 810 chipset has eight cores like the Kirin 980, but two of the 980’s high-performance cores have been replaced with energy-efficient small cores. It’s unclear if this will be Huawei’s last ARM-designed chip, after the chip designer cut ties with Huawei last month. The amount of storage and RAM also differ between the two phones. The Nova 5 has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, while the Nova 5 Pro has 8GB of RAM and can be configured with up to 256GB of storage.
Jun 19, 2019
Honor 20 launches globally this week, but you probably shouldn’t buy it
2019 has been a transformative year for Honor, Huawei’s junior brand, with the introduction of the excellent Honor View 20 and Honor 20 Pro. For the first time, this budget brand was competing for the attention and money of smartphone shoppers at the high end of the market. But then the United States used Huawei as a proxy to escalate its trade war with China, and Honor became collateral damage in the process. The official situation right now is that the US has banned its domestic companies from engaging in business with Huawei, which includes Honor, though there’s been a 90-day reprieve that muddies the situation.Read Article >
Honor’s approach to this global trade drama has been to just keep going with its product plans, in the hope that things will improve sooner rather than later. And that’s how we arrive at the global launch of the Honor 20, which today gets a price and release date for its first markets outside of China. The UK, France, Germany, Russia, and Malaysia will all get the device this Friday, June 21st, at a price of £399, €499, RUB 27,990, and RM 1,699, respectively. In each country, there’ll be a bundled free accessory, with some receiving the Honor FlyPods and others getting the Honor Magic Watch. Italy, the Netherlands, and India follow on June 24th, with the Poland Honor 20 release coming on June 28th, and Spain completing the set at some point in July.
Jun 17, 2019
Huawei laptops return to Microsoft’s online store after mysteriously disappearing
Microsoft removed Huawei’s laptop lineup from its online store last month, following a new executive order to crack down on the Chinese tech company. While the software giant has remained silent over whether Huawei will still be able to obtain Windows licenses for its range of laptops, the devices are now starting to return to online stores this week.Read Article >
Twitter user WalkingCat noticed that Huawei’s laptops have returned, and we’ve spotted that the MateBook 13, the MateBook, and the MateBook X Pro are all available once again. The MateBook X Pro is currently listed as “out of stock,” but the rest are available to purchase again.