Huawei’s secretive founder addresses media for only third time in company history

Domestic News

Rén Zhèngfēi 任正非, the secretive founder of Huawei and father of its CFO, Mèng Wǎnzhōu 孟晚舟 — who was arrested in Vancouver by U.S. request in December — has come out of his cave to speak to the media in public for only the third time in his company’s life.

Ren said that Huawei had “never received any request from any government to provide improper information,” and that “no law requires any company in China to install mandatory back doors.” He also asserted that Huawei has never been part of a “serious security incident.”

He also flattered Donald Trump, calling him a “great president” and praising his tax cuts.

“The trade war so far has not affected us in a major way,” he said. “Our expected growth in 2019 is not greater than 20 percent.” He added that because it is not a public company, “we don’t need a beautiful income statement. If some countries don’t buy our products, we can scale down. So long as we can feed ourselves we’ll always have a future.”

As for Meng Wanzhou, Ren said: “I trust the legal systems of Canada and the United States are open, just, and fair.” Ren said he was not close to his daughter because he spent her childhood in the military, then working 16-hour days at Huawei.

Yuan Yang and Louise Lucas at the Financial Times have the best coverage of Ren’s speech: Reclusive Huawei founder: We don’t spy for China, and Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei in his own words (paywall).

Also see:

Huawei and the tech cold war