Embattled Chinese tech giant Huawei on Monday vowed to weather wide-ranging US sanctions with a push into the intelligent vehicle sector and ramping up development of its own mobile phone ecosystem.
Rotating chairman Eric Xu said Huawei planned to invest $1 billion (roughly Rs. 7,500 crores) in the projects – in cooperation with major Chinese automakers – of systems for electric vehicles and cars that use artificial intelligence.
It also planned to push ahead in helping develop applications for the coming advent of superfast 5G connections, in cloud computing, and in the software business.
“With these adjustments in portfolio, we are quite confident we can survive,” Xu told a gathering of industry analysts at company headquarters in the southern technology hub of Shenzhen.
“So the overall strategy and specific measures of Huawei are all revolving around enabling us to survive and develop under the entity listing in the long term,” he said.
Former US president Donald Trump in 2018 launched an aggressive campaign to isolate the company globally amid concerns that its telecom networking equipment installed worldwide could be used by China’s Communist Party government for espionage or sabotage.
China and Huawei have fiercely rejected the insinuation, saying the United States has never provided evidence.
The measures against the company include barring it from the huge US market, cutting it off from global component supply chains and pressuring allies to ban or rip out Huawei gear from their national telecom systems.
The administration of US President Joe Biden, who took office in January, has so far indicated no let-up on Huawei.
Executives have indicated in recent months the company would pivot from a reliance on its two main business units, but Xu’s comments Monday were the most specific to date.
Huawei is the world’s largest supplier of telecom networking gear and has long been a top-three smartphone supplier along with Apple and Samsung.
But it tumbled out of the mobile phone big three in late 2020 as sales plummeted due to the difficulty accessing necessary components, according to industry trackers.
Chinese state-owned carmaker BAIC plans to unveil a new model of its ArcFox electric vehicle line at next week’s Shanghai Auto Show, for which Huawei provided operating components, Chinese media have reported.
Xu said Huawei also had plans to cooperate with other Chinese auto manufacturers on electric or intelligent vehicles, a fast-growing market in China.
It also will step up efforts to develop its own mobile phone operating system, after US actions cut off it from using Google’s Android OS.
Analysts have said this is a tall task given the global stranglehold of Android and Apple’s iOS system.
Huawei has said it can build on its existing large base of users in creating a viable alternative.