Ren Zhengfei, the CEO and founder of the beleaguered Chinese technology company Huawei is defending his US rival Apple.
When asked in an interview with Bloomberg about calls in China to boycott Apple, Ren said he would oppose any retaliatory action by Beijing, even as tensions with the United States increase.
“That will not happen in the first place, and second, if that happens, I’ll be the first to protest,” Ren told Bloomberg.
“Apple is the leading company in the world. If there were no Apple, there would be no mobile internet, “said Ren. “Apple is my teacher, is advancing in front of us, as a student, why should I oppose my teacher?” He added.
The comments come when Ren’s company is in crisis mode.
The US Department of Commerce UU He put Huawei on a commercial blacklist earlier this month, effectively preventing him from doing business with US companies.
The ban forced suppliers such as Google and ARM Holdings to cut ties with the Chinese company. Major companies in the United Kingdom and Japan are also delaying the launch of Huawei smartphones.
The restrictions of EE. UU threaten Huawei’s position as the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer and number 2 smartphone brand.
Washington’s ban on the Chinese company “could stimulate the smartphone industry by stopping Huawei’s positive momentum,” Fitc1h Rating analysts wrote in a note on Sunday. The ban could also benefit the Samsung industry leader, as consumers around the world seek alternatives to Huawei smartphones, they added.
Huawei and Apple have had very different fortunes in the local Huawei market in China.
Huawei sent nearly 30 million phones in China in the quarter ending in March, up 41% from the same period last year, according to research firm Canalys.
Meanwhile, Apple saw its iPhone sales in China drop 30% in the same period. The country is still a key market for Apple. Greater China, which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong, accounted for almost 18% of net sales in the quarter ending in March.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in April that iPhone sales in China should be driven by an “improved business dialogue” between Beijing and Washington and “a very positive response from customers to the price actions we have taken.” in that market. “
But since then, trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing have been broken, and both sides have increased the tension by imposing more sanctions on US and Chinese products worth billions of dollars.
The renewed commercial dispute could hurt Apple, according to Fitch Rating analysts.
“Apple could be another victim of the trade war between the United States and China and its loss of market share could accelerate in the Chinese market,” they said.
The president of the United States, Donald Trump, said last week that Huawei was “very dangerous”, but then said that he could see the company included in a broader trade agreement with China.
Ren told Bloomberg that using his company as a bargaining chip is “a big joke.” “How are we related to trade between China and the United States?” He asked.