Our supply chain won’t tread the ZTE path – Huawei CEO

One of the biggest stories of the year, and one of the major catalysts of the US/China trade war, was ZTE’s brush with extinction, but Huawei thinks it’s robust enough to withstand the US economic dirty-bomb.

During the Summer, ZTE was caught violating US trade sanctions with Iran and subsequently was banned from using any US products or IP within its supply chain. The move from the US almost destroyed ZTE, with the company ceasing operations for a couple of weeks, but Huawei’s Rotating CEO doesn’t think his firm would be under the same risk.

“We all know the ICT industry highly depends on a global supply chain,” said Hu. “And Huawei is no exception. Today we have 13,000 suppliers in our supply chain. Companies coming from Japan, US, Europe, China and many other countries in the regions. Take this year for example, our annual procurement spend would be 70 billion dollars.”

With CFO Meng Wanzhou currently on bail in Canada, Huawei is facing questions it probably doesn’t want to answer. The connection with Skycom looks to be much closer than some US financial institutions were led to believe, suggesting Huawei has been violating US trade sanctions with Iran. Should the US take the same action as it did with ZTE earlier in the year, Huawei could face the same ban on US exports.

The issue with ZTE was its dependence on the US for its supply chain. Huawei will also have the US feature prominently through its own supply chain, but Hu is confident it would stand up to any potential punishment dished out by the US.

“We take a diversified supply strategy,” said Hu. “That means we have a multi-sourcing strategy.

“We look at multiple choices in terms of technology solutions, and we also have multi-location supply networks. At the same time, since we’re working together with hundreds of telecom operators in the world, and also, we are serving a significant number of enterprise customers, so we look at the full lifecycle support that is needed and build up our stock of spare parts and components to ensure support across the product lifecycle.”

The company is also working to produce its own alternatives to some technologies which might not be able to be replicated elsewhere. A prime example of this is the Android mobile operating system.

As it stands, should the US impose a ban on Huawei its smartphones and wearable devices would be relegated to the role of doorstop. With this in mind, Huawei is attempting to create its own mobile operating system. It will probably be no-where as good as what the Android OS can offer, others such as Samsung have tried and failed, but it is certainly better than nothing.

Being banned from using US components and IP would certainly be a negative for Huawei, and it certainly isn’t a scenario which is out of the question, but Huawei seems to be in a better position than the suspect ZTE.

Huawei CFO charged with hiding connection to Skycom, which worked with Iran

The bail hearing for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has revealed she is charged with concealing ties between her company and another that violated US trade sanctions.

Meng was arrested last week in Canada and had her bail hearing at the end of the week. In it, according to multiple reports, she committed fraud when she told US banks in 2013 that Huawei had no connection to Hong Kong firm Skycom, which was apparently doing business with Iranian telecoms companies. The suggestion is that Skycom was used to disguise Huawei’s own violations of US trade sanctions, which is what caused ZTE so much grief earlier this year.

“Ms. Meng personally represented to those banks that Skycom and Huawei were separate when in fact they were not separate,” said Crown Counsel John Gibb-Carsley. “Skycom was Huawei.” Evidence for this is reportedly contained in a PowerPoint presentation from that time and it looks like this manoeuvre may be what was referred to in ZTE’s F7 memo.

In a bid to get bail Meng’s lawyers that she’s not a flight risk because she wouldn’t want to embarrass her father, the founder of Huawei, as well as the company itself and the whole country. She also apparently has a couple of houses in Vancouver, which she could stay in. Counter-arguments have focused on how much cash she has, meaning she could afford to leg it.

The original scoop on Skycom seems to have come from Reuters, which reported back in January 2013: ‘Huawei CFO linked to firm that offered HP gear to Iran’. The reason this case has escalated to an arrest isn’t the business Huawei may or may not have done with Iranian companies, but the allegations of deliberately misleading US banks – hence committing fraud.