Huawei ‘Replaced 13,000 Components’ After Sanctions

Ren Zhengfei, Founder and CEO, Huawei Technologies

Huawei has replaced more than 13,000 components with locally made Chinese parts in past three years due to US sanctions, founder says

Huawei Technologies has replaced more than 13,000 components in its products with local Chinese-made parts and redesigned more than 4,000 circuit boards over the past three years in response to US sanctions, the company’s founder Ren Zhengfei said.

Huawei, a major supplier of 5G telecommunications equipment, has since 2019 been the subject of rounds of US export controls that have expanded notably to slow the expansion of China’s semiconductor industry.

The controls cut off Huawei’s supply of chips from US companies, as well as its access to US tools to design its own chips and have them manufactured by partners.

The US administration also last year banned the sale of new Huawei equipment in the US.

HuaweiTrade war

The moves notably forced Huawei to sell off its Honor smartphone division, while its flagship smartphone business shrank dramatically

Ren, 78, said the production of circuit boards had “stabilised” according to a transcript of a speech provided by Nanjing University and other sources on Friday.

Peking University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and others also posted the transcript of the 24 February speech.

Ren said he was an advocate of Western technology at a young age and even now is not “anti-West”.

“But all of a sudden, we were sanctioned, and they could not provide us with the components and tools, my mind went blank,” he said.

Research spending

He said Huawei would launch its own enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, MetaERP, next month using its own operating system, data system, compiler and language.

Huawei spent $23.8 billion (£19.54bn) on research and development last year and “as our profitability improves, we’ll continue to increase R&D spending”, Ren said.

He said Microsoft would not be the only player in the generative AI market opened up by the wildly popular ChatGPT tool, but that the field “is not something we will work on”.

Huawei is instead focused on providing the “underlying computing power platform” for AI, he said.