Huawei CEO says he'd welcome phone call from Biden in first remarks on new U.S. president

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Ren Zhengfei, CEO of Huawei speaking with CNBC at Huawei headquaters in Shenzhen, China.

Justin Solomon | CNBC

TAIYUAN, China — Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei said he’d welcome a phone call from U.S. President Joe Biden, in his first public remarks since the change of administration in Washington.

Ren is hoping for a softer approach toward the Chinese telecommunication giant he founded after around two years of pressure from Washington. Huawei was labeled a national security threat under the Trump administration, which took actions to hamper the company’s access to key software and components.

Washington alleged Huawei’s networking equipment could be used to spy on Americans. Huawei has repeatedly denied those claims.

“I would welcome such phone calls and the message is around joint development and shared success,” Ren said in Chinese comments translated by an official interpreter during a briefing with reporters. “The U.S. wants to have economic growth and China wants to have economic growth as well.”

We still hope that we can buy in large volume American materials components as well as equipment so that we can all benefit from China’s growth.

‘Overcome the difficulties’

Ren struck an optimistic tone saying that his confidence “rose” in the last year around “Huawei’s ability to survive.” 

That came despite the difficulties in their smartphone business as well as some countries over the last 12 month, such as the U.K., blocking Huawei from its 5G market. 

“We have more means to overcome the difficulties,” Ren said.

Huawei also achieved positive revenue and net profit growth for 2020, the CEO said, without giving specific numbers.

Revenue for 2019 totaled 858.8 billion yuan ($122.97 billon) while net profit came in at 62.7 billion yuan. 

Huawei will ‘never’ sell smartphone business

— Correction: This article has been updated to accurately reflect that Huawei’s revenue for 2019 totaled $122.97 billon. A previous version of this story stated the wrong year.



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