It’s hard to break a country where the government sees you as a security threat
Huawei is the third largest phone manufacturer on the planet, but that position on the podium might be as good as it gets. While the Chinese giant has had huge success in Asia and some breakthrough in Europe, the USA has been a tough nut to crack – and now it’s become a virtually impossible one.
The writing was on the wall back in February, when the FBI highlighted Huawei and ZTE as national security risks, and AT&T backed out of a deal to sell Huawei phones on its network. On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission voted 5-0 to ban federal funds from being spent with companies that are deemed a threat to national security, making an uphill struggle look even more insurmountable. Never mind the lack of any real evidence of wrongdoing, Huawei is essentially blackballed in the United States.
It looks like the company knows when it’s not wanted, and is admitting defeat. Both the New York Times and Reuters have independently reported of at least five layoffs of key US employees, including the vice president of external affairs at Huawei and the lead lobbyist charged with winning the ear of the US government.
As if that weren’t evidence enough of admitting defeat, the New York Times also reports of comments made by deputy chairman Eric Xu, who told Huawei’s annual analyst meeting: “Some things cannot change their course according to our wishes. With some things, when you let them go, you actually feel more at ease.”
At the end of 2017, Huawei had around 10% of the global smartphone market share, behind Samsung (18.4%) and Apple (19.2%). Accepting that 325 million Americans will never own a Huawei handset is a bitter pill to swallow, but with a globe half-full perspective, that does leave some 7.3 billion others who could one day be persuaded – especially if they continue to make handsets as brilliant as the P20 Pro.
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