There is little left of that mountain man who used to travel more than 600 kilometers every day to go to school. From the grandson of chef and son of teachers who entered as a soldier in the People's Liberation Army of China and ended up building a chemical fiber factory. From the engineer who raised with his hands a modest operator of communication equipment maintenance that transformed into a telecommunications giant.
If one asks Ren Zhengfei (75, Zhenning, China) what he does, he will answer that he is a creator. But of the good ones. It has to be to start a company with $ 5,600 and, 32 years later, have more than 100,000 million revenue.
Having in front of the CEO of Huawei is a candy that for the first time they have been able to taste a group of Spanish media. Even more if we take into account the current context: implementation of 5G, trade war between China and the United States, fight for world technological supremacy, accusations of espionage ... And the peasant who has become the emperor of the Chinese networks does not end without thread. Let's start with the papers on the table of a large room in block J-5 of the Huawei headquarters in the city of Shenzhen.The Spanish Ministry of Defense has discouraged its officials from entering its intranet with Huawei devices. I want to clarify that we are not aware of the veto of the Ministry of Defense nor have we received any official notification from the Spanish Government on this matter. Nothing has prevented our supply of services to Spain, which is a great country because it conquered the world. In colonial times it drew a line on the planet. History has left Spain as the first world power that rose. And with our 5G technology base, Spanish culture can also reach the entire world. Is Spain losing its trust in Huawei? I don't think it is losing confidence. We have to study the facts. The 5G network in Spain will be the best in Europe, an example for the entire old continent. How to clear suspicions that the Chinese government is behind Huawei? Would the IPO be an option? Huawei is a company born in the Chinese land and has to comply with the law of this country. Also, as an international company, you have to respect the laws of the countries in which you operate. That is why I can say that Huawei is a company that complies with all the laws of the countries where it is present. The sample is our results, the actions we take, not necessarily the public exchange price. Can a Chinese company be totally independent of the Government and the Communist Party? In China we can be absolutely independent. Chinese law has given us this status. Isn't it contradictory for Huawei to lead 5G in a country like China, famous for its control and censorship that slows the internet and forces us to use VPN? We just provide the equipment and that doesn't have much to do with internet control. It is a relationship more similar to cars and highways. We build the highways, which have nothing to do with cars. It is nothing contradictory. But before building the highways we have to take into account the demand and the current situation. Are you creating a kind of digital Berlin Wall between the US and China that will technologically divide the world? I don't think this wall comes true, because the Berlin Wall has to do with hard force. Today we are in a digital world without walls that separate us. Also, if that were to come true, the separation of the world into two blocks would be inconvenient for the United States. North American technology companies are the best, the leaders worldwide. If they cannot market their products and services, for them it will mean great losses and their financial results will be worse. In addition, in the other block there would be other companies that would replace those in the United States. Are you aware that Huawei is in the midst of a fight for global technological supremacy? Who will win in the end? I don't understand why the United States and China entered into a trade war. I don't know if the person who uncovered this war is sorry now. And if you have the confidence that your country will win. We have sale 0 in the United States. I do not care. The company has in mind to advance to a closed system if we are going towards a 100% Chinese Huawei ecosystem without the presence of applications from the United States. It will not be so. Due to the conflicts with the Americans we have an interim measure that is to use our own pieces, but it is a temporary action, because we have the conviction that this will end and we will embrace globalization. The new operating system is not only for smartphones, but also for all digital devices of our company. What is your backup plan if relations with the United States deteriorate further? Huawei is a very poor company. And we don't have a large reserve of funds like American companies. But without being not as rich as they have been able to develop our own processors. Not only the core processor, but also chips for artificial intelligence. We have prepared for more than 10 years. Without Google we can continue to offer our customers the best technological solutions. But we do not exclude US partners. We continue to buy parts in large quantities from US companies. We are very committed to globalization. Is globalization also of countries like Spain? Artificial intelligence will create so much wealth to distribute among all. We will have totally autonomous farms in the future. Also autonomous ports without any human intervention. In the future, Spanish pork will be exported much more to China, improving the commercial flow between the two countries. Spain is also one of the countries that has the best quality of education worldwide. We Chinese have to learn from Spain to improve our educational quality. However, now Spain suffers a trade deficit with China, but with cooperation we can reverse this situation. An example is in the telecommunications summit of Barcelona (Mobile World Congress) that is held every year and to which we always go. I really like to walk around Barcelona and stop in front of Gaudí's buildings. The charm of Spain is felt in the streets. When I return to China I always tell my friends that our country is getting richer, but to reach countries like Spain in charm and culture we would need many more years. Does Huawei have plans to continue collaborating with Telefónica in other countries where it operates, in addition to Spain, in Latin American countries? Telefónica has our full support for the deployment of our network throughout Latin America. What do you think NATO has defined to China as a threat? In truth, NATO sees China as a constructive partner, not as a rival. We have no conflicts of interest or political problems between NATO and China. And 5G is a part of development, not harm. Anyway, I think those opinions are not going to affect our development in Europe. Is Huawei's technology helping government control of the Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang? Should Huawei have a moral code to know what use is given to its technology in these places where several reports suggest that there are re-education camps for this minority? If Spain manufactures a car, the company cannot determine in what hands it ends. If the car crashes into a wall, it is the driver's fault. We cannot sell a car and a qualified driver at the same time ... The United States also sells its weapons to the governments of the Middle East ... Doesn't it give arguments to the United States in the accusations against Huawei saying that it is not a company that Have good practices? The United States is not in a position to criticize others. As a parent, how do you feel a year after the arrest of your daughter, Meng Wanzhou, in Canada and how do you face the legal process? Have you gone to visit her? I have not visited her yet, her mother is accompanying her in Canada. It has not affected me so much. Are you afraid of being arrested like her if you visit other countries? I am not afraid of being arrested. In China there is much controversy over the case of his former employee Li Hongyuan, the man who was detained 251 days after the company accused him of extortion after seeking compensation when he was fired. Now he has been acquitted by the courts. In the social networks and state newspapers they have spoken that Huawei has lost that "patriotic love" that it received from the people after the veto of the United States. Is Li Hongyuan's case damaging Huawei's image in China after the patriotic wave? I would like to say that it is not a labor dispute. If he has been in jail for many days, it is because he has committed a crime. If he thinks he is innocent, he can use the legal channels to denounce the company. But I believe that some criticisms do not harm us so much either. A few months ago, with the United States veto, we were the star in social networks. Criticisms help cool the environment a bit. Actually when Chinese citizens believe we are perfect they have to know that we have many difficulties. What motivates you to continue leading your company despite the war with the United States? I already wanted to retire, but the president of the United States hit me so hard that it has made me continue working for the company, especially for the part of public relations.
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