Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei had a discussion with two American technological gurus, George Gilder and Nicholas Negroponte, at the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen on Monday.
Ren said he believes the artificial intelligence industry is a driving force for human society, and people need to be inclusive and not regard AI as “negative” future technology.
Ren said that Huawei has been committed to business ethics and compliance with laws and regulations since the company was started. “Huawei didn’t, and will never steal, intellectual property,” he said in the discussion.
There are “absolutely no backdoors” in Huawei’s equipment and the company is willing to sign no-backdoor agreements with other countries, Ren said.
He also said issues of network security and information security should be viewed separately.
The network of human society must not be prone to problems as it connects 6.5 billion people and tens of millions of banks and countless enterprises. Thirty years of applications in 170 countries have proven that Huawei’s network, which serves 3 billion people, is secure, Ren said.
However, information security is another question, Ren said. He described Huawei as a provider of “pipelines” and “faucets,” saying operators and content providers must be responsible for contents “running in the pipelines.”
No mass layoff
Ren also said the attacks from the United States cannot stop Huawei from moving forward.
Ren estimated that the company’s revenues could drop to around US$100 billion this year and the next, but he expected a revival in 2021.
He said the major goal for human society is to create wealth and help more people to shake off poverty. Only through collaboration and development can humans’ needs be met, he said.
Huawei will neither split nor sell its mainstream businesses, and it has no plan of mass layoff, Ren said.
Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei (right) hosts a panel discussion on technology, markets and enterprise in Shenzhen on June 17, 2019. (HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP)
In answering a question about Huawei’s plan to sell its submarine cable business unit, Ren said the company had long wanted to sell this business, which was not in response to external attacks, but because of its little relevance to the company’s mainstream businesses.
Huawei will put more employees into the mainstream businesses, said Ren, stressing that it has no plan of mass layoff in the future.
Investing US$100b on network
Huawei will invest US$100 billion in the next five years to make network infrastructure more efficient and reliable, Ren said.
Despite the financial blows the company is bearing, Ren said there was no plan to reduce research spending and promised to make more contributions to theoretical science in the future.