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Huawei founder: US actions 'underestimate our abilities'

(c) Sky News 2019: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/huawei-founder-us-actions-underestimate-our-abilities-11725229">Huawei founder: US actions 'underestimate our abilities' </a>
 

The founder of Huawei has taken aim at Donald Trump, suggesting US restrictions on its business "underestimate our abilities".

Ren Zhengfei was quoted by Chinese state media CCTV as saying the company's battle was with the Trump administration and not US firms - as he defied a crackdown on the business in the world's largest economy.

Restrictions imposed by the US government last Thursday added Huawei and 68 other entities to a blacklist on national security grounds, making it difficult for the Chinese company to buy US-made goods.

The ban meant it was unable to maintain its networks or provide software updates to existing handsets.

Reports suggested Google had reacted by suspending its business with the Chinese firm, undermining Huawei's line-up of smartphones and tablets which run on Android.

There was some temporary relief on Monday when US authorities announced a 90-day licence for Huawei .

The US Commerce Department stressed it was to minimise disruption for its US customers and the firm was still prohibited from buying American parts and components to manufacture new products without a fresh licence.

Google later confirmed the easing of the restrictions meant Huawei phone owners would be able to continue using Google apps as normal for now.

The US accuses Huawei of being a national security risk as Chinese state law means companies there are obliged to cooperate with information if demanded by security services.

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The firm denies any suggestion its networks pose a risk as the race for 5G technology enters a crucial phase - with Huawei at the forefront.

Mr Ren said the temporary easing of the US restrictions were of little consequence for Huawei as it had made extensive preparations for hostility from the US government.

He told Chinese reporters the US controls "will have no impact within this company" and that the firm has "supply back-ups" if it loses access to American chips and other technology.

Mr Ren also said the company was discussing "emergency relief measures" with Google about the possible effect on its smartphone business.

A senior executive told Sky News last week how the company would sign "no-spying" deals with any governments - if it helped reassure them of no link to the Beijing authorities.

The Financial Times reported Huawei was on the verge of launching its own operating system to account for the expected loss of Android.

The Huawei issue has become a central plank of the wider trade war between China and the US as the loss of Google apps would make Huawei phones unattractive to western users.

Most Google apps are barred in China because of domestic restrictions.