May was a difficult month for the Chinese giant Huawei. The administration of Donald Trump placed the company on the blacklist to do business, forbidding any kind of commercial relationship with the United States without first having a special permit from the Department of Commerce. Derived from alleged “backdoors” in their devices that allowed the Chinese regime to spy on US citizens.
Huawei sanctions are not new, they began in January when the government of President Trump filed a lawsuit against the Chinese company, stating that it had conspired to steal intellectual property to the operator T-Mobile. Derived from these recent actions, Google made the decision to break relations with Huawei so it will immediately lose access to updates to the Android operating system, including access to the Play Store (its app store), Gmail and other functions, in the next Huawei smartphones.
This prohibition delays and jeopardizes the supply chain for the implementation of 5G services in the world, but future sales of the company are the most dangerous. Huawei, nevertheless, communicated that they have a “plan B” which consists of that they have increased for months the inventories of the necessary components to continue arming their equipment and for the development of their own operating system. Kirin, as it is known until that new operating system, will be released later this year or early 2020.
However, the company’s plan B does not seem to calm telephony service providers. Vodafone and EE, two of the largest operators in the United Kingdom, have decided to temporarily suspend orders for mobile phones with 5G technology to the Chinese manufacturer. For its part, Softbank and KDDI, the largest operators in Japan, have opted for the same maneuver. To make matters worse, the SD Association expelled Huawei, so the Chinese company will no longer have access to the use of microSD cards, technology that make use of most of their smartphones.
Huawei, inside China, enjoys great popularity since it is living a different reality from the West. For example, searches are done through Baidu, the Youtube alternative is called Toktok, and the most popular chat application is Wechat. Undoubtedly, Huawei is in a critical position where it seems that China is being confined, the future of this great Chinese company will depend on its trade negotiations with the rest of the world, but – mainly – with the United States. The world must consider that the supply chains nowadays are global and the fall of one of the most important companies in technological innovation can affect other international companies.
Or, in the effort to try to block China’s technological advance through this company, it could have the opposite effect and cause it to accelerate the development of technologies that compete with those Americans that currently dominate the market. Thus, we could see in the short-term progress in the development of Huawei devices that allow them not only to be self-sufficient, but to be a real alternative to Western technology.