Huawei founder says company should dodge sanctions by pivoting to software

Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei has reportedly urged the Chinese tech giant’s staff to turn the company into a major software force as a way to alleviate the impact of devastating US sanctions. In an internal memo viewed by Reuters, Ren says that Huawei should focus on software because the industry is “outside of US control and we will have greater independence and autonomy.”

Huawei is presently unable to mass-produce much of its hardware products because of sanctions forbidding US firms from doing business with it. The company stockpiled chips and components in an attempt to mitigate the sanctions, but the reserves are limited and in some cases will be swiftly obsoleted. Huawei is also blocked from using Google apps and services on its smartphones. The Biden administration hasn’t suggested that it will reverse any of the Trump-era sanctions, although the US has eased off its moves against other Chinese companies like Xiaomi and TikTok.

Because of this climate, Ren reportedly told employees that Huawei is to focus on software including MindSpore, its cloud AI platform, and its HarmonyOS operating system for various devices. The company is said to be planning to compete in major markets other than the US. “Once we dominate Europe, the Asia Pacific and Africa, if US standards don’t match ours, and we can’t enter the US, then the US can’t enter our territory,” Ren wrote, according to Reuters.

It may not be long before an important part of Huawei’s software strategy is revealed. Today, the company sent out a promotional image on WeChat teasing a major HarmonyOS-related announcement for June 2nd. The operating system is yet to launch on smartphones, with the initial focus being IoT devices and TVs upon its early release.

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