Cina, Meng Wanzhou diverted presidente di Huawei
The tech war between the United States and China is set to get even more vehement. Yes, because from Saturday 1 April Meng Wanzhou takes the helm of command with the rotating presidency of Huawei, the great bogeyman in the sights of the United States for almost 5 years now. And Meng Wanzhou is the daughter of the patron of the Shenzhen giant, Ren Zhengfei. And above all, she is the one whose arrest in Canada in December 2018 kicked off the tech dispute between the two major world powers.
Meng was arrested in December 2018 by Canadian authorities during a stopover in Vancouver, while on a worldwide business trip en route to South America. She was wanted by the United States on bank fraud charges related to allegations of Huawei’s illegal sale of telecommunications equipment to Iran. The United States has long viewed Huawei as a security threat, fearing the Chinese government could use its telecommunications equipment to spy on the West, something Huawei has always denied.
Her promotion puts her in the driving seat as the company strives to replace foreign technology, expand into new lines of business and develop its own supply chains after years of US restrictions. Becoming a national hero, Meng is considered something of a hero in her homeland after spending time “prisoner” under house arrest at his Vancouver mansion. Returning to China in 2021, Meng regained control of the company’s finances, speaking at internal rallies and serving as Huawei’s ambassador at events in China.
While Meng’s profile has grown at home, his global role has declined. He no longer travels the world to meet heads of state and international customers of Huawei, due to the repercussions of the “fatwa” issued against him by Washington. Which, however, makes it even more famous in a China where nationalist and anti-US sentiment has reached levels unknown in the past.
What changes with Meng Wanzhou at the head of Huawei in the US-China tech war
Meng’s elevation clearly places her in line to take the reins of the colossus in the future on which the pare is still the only one to retain the right of veto, despite Ren having repeatedly reiterated that his sons could never have directed the company he founded 35 years ago. Non the short term, his presidency is bound to worsen tensions between Beijing and Washington and especially between Huawei and the United States. On the other hand, China is certain that the US wants to block its technological rise and has stopped sending signals of openness to dialogue through compromises.
All this takes place while the White House is preparing a new ban, perhaps total, for Huawei, which has already suffered greatly from the bans and restrictions issued by the United States. Tso that in a letter last summer, Ren warned employees that a “struggle for survival” was underway, also due to the global economic trend and the winds of decoupling that are blowing ever stronger on the tech front.
With Meng, it is foreseeable that we will insist with even more conviction on the path of technological self-sufficiency. As the Wall Street Journal reports, over the past three years, Huawei has replaced more than 13,000 foreign parts and more than 4,000 electronic boards, Ren said in February. But the company still relies on US chip companies for its remaining line of 4G smartphones and other consumer gadgets.
It’s hard not to imagine that bilateral tensions won’t increase, a sadly usual trend in relations between the US and China.
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