The Huawei case – understanding an unprecedented crisis

Huawei has been in the eye of the storm for a few months already, the Chinese mobile phone giant being accused by the Trump administration of spying on US interests. But things have accelerated and escalated since the official ban last week preventing the Chinese giant from dealing with any company that “could endanger national security.”

Since Google announced that it would stop its commercial relations with the Chinese giant, things have been going on; statements have multiplied, decisions taken have been postponed, negotiations have resumed, other options have bloomed. It makes this case extremely confusing.

Can Huawei get by without Google?

Faced with the crisis, Huawei organized himself. The group’s representative before the European authorities, Abraham Liu, thus ensures that different teams of the group work hand in hand with Google to respond to the American embargo. Huawei was granted a three-month stay until August 19. It allows them to refine their alternative. For several months now, the Chinese giant has been working in secret on its response to be able to do without its American counterpart.

For the moment, Huawei is focusing on negotiating with Google.

But at the same time, the group is working hard to find a plan B, developing its competing operating system. According to CNBC, it could be ready in China before the end of the year. This system would be available internationally in early 2020. According to the Chinese daily Global Times, the OS called HongMeng is in the testing phase. It was developed in 2012.  At Huawei, they are somewhat optimistic. But there are no equivalent applications, that’s the problem. Afterward, Huawei is thinking about the possibility of providing smartphones with an Android OpenSource version, free for users to then install Google services.

Huawei has also been secretly working on a proprietary application store for several months. But it will be challenging to compete with the Google Play Store. Since the beginning of 2018, the Chinese giant has been knocking on the door of application developers, but also European telecom operators with attractive proposals. The idea is to expand the store’s catalog and promote its deployment as quickly as possible.

Can other smartphone manufacturers be affected?

The United States first targeted ZTE and then Huawei. They are both smartphone manufacturers, but above all, they are major telecom players. Huawei generates 48% of its revenue from smartphones but has become a key player in the infrastructures required for 5G. The other Chinese manufacturers do not work in the Telecom sector. The Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus do not yet play in the same category.

And last but not least, their founder is not a former army officer, member of the Chinese Communist Party! A Chinese actor who prefers to keep his name secret pointed out to us that he had no connection with the Chinese government. They are nevertheless outside any reply. Not easy, especially if China reacts by boycotting Apple products, for example. We can imagine the rest very well. Donald Trump was able to be unpredictable!

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