Huawei’s founder says tech giant has replaced thousands of US-banned parts with Chinese versions

Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei said that the Chinese technology giant has replaced thousands of product components that are banned in the United States with homegrown versions, the news agency AFP reported on Saturday (March 18) citing a transcript posted by Shanghai Jiao Tong University on Friday. Former US president Donald Trump’s administration had effectively barred American companies from doing business with Huawei. And Trump’s successor Joe Biden imposed further sanctions including a ban on sales of new Huawei equipment to the US. 

These moves have forced the company to find new ways to obtain semiconductors and other parts. According to the Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s transcript, Zhengfei said on February 24 that Huawei replaced over 13,000 components with domestic versions in the last three years. He said that Huawei also redeveloped over 4,000 circuit boards for its products. 

“As of now, our circuit board (production) has stabilised, because we have a supply of domestically produced components,” the Huawei founder added but did not provide details regarding which specific parts were being sourced from within China or what proportion of the company’s total supply they represented.

During the talk, Zhengfei further said that there were still difficulties with manufacturing advanced microchips in China and so Huawei has to find other ways of making up ground (with the US) on chips. In 2022, the company spent $23.8 billion on research and development, Zhengfei said, adding that it would invest more in the coming years as profits increase. 

“We’re still in a difficult period, but have not stopped on the road towards progress,” the founder added. 

On Friday, the news agency Reuters reported that a letter from the German economy ministry said that the ban on certain components by Huawei and ZTE could have a significant impact on Germany’s mobile network. The letter comes as Berlin has been reviewing telecom tech suppliers and said it is not directed at specific companies. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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