Huawei UK boss insists ‘nothing has changed’ despite US trade restrictions

Huawei’s UK managing director has insisted “nothing has changed” for the Chinese company despite a US-issued trade ban on the firm.

Anson Zhang acknowledged there has been “confusion” and “uncertainty” around the company’s phones, but he confirmed its devices would continue to receive software and security updates in both the short and long-term and users “do not have to worry”.

In May, Huawei was hit by an executive order from US President Donald Trump which effectively banned it from trading with any American companies.

The restrictions saw Google announce it would limit Huawei’s access to its Android operating system for future devices.

A temporary licence has since been issued that enables Google to support and update the Android software currently running on existing Huawei phones, but this expires in August.

Mr Zhang said the company now wants to more clearly clarify the situation to its customers.

He told PA: “I think it’s time for us to let you know what is currently going on. Obviously, there are some challenges right now, I think everybody knows that – but the situation from our side is that nothing has changed.

“We do understand there has been some confusion, but the fact is as a commitment to customers, nothing has been changed. They can receive the product with any of the functionality as usual. They can do everything as usual. They don’t need to worry about security updates, app updates.”

The Chinese firm last week launched a new web page called Huawei Answers, designed to reassure Huawei users following speculation that the company’s phones and its software could be affected by the trade ban.

It said many of its devices would be able to access Android Q – the next version of Google’s phone software due to launch later this year – and would continue to receive other updates without interruption.

Mr Zhang said: “What I can 100% guarantee is that the answers are all there (on the website), it is not only for this time period. It is for the long-term. Technically, and in our business strategy, everything remains the same.

“You can receive updates – no matter what deadline in August or after – the answer remains the same.”

When asked about the firm’s ongoing relationship with Google amid the trade dispute, Mr Zhang said Huawei feels there are no issues to address and it will continue to work with the Android operating system.

“Firstly, what I will say is if you want to ‘solve’ something, it means there is a problem there. But in fact, there is no problem collaborating with our partner. If there was any problem there we would not be able to make the commitment we have,” he said.

“We are running the new version of Android – Android Q – as normal procedure. We have more than 10 models already on Android Q software early testing. If anything serious was happening they wouldn’t let us do that.”

Huawei executives have previously confirmed the company is developing its own operating system which could be used instead of Android.

However, the firm has also described switching to its own operating system as “plan B”.

Huawei is also currently the subject of a British Government review into whether it should be allowed into “non-core” parts of the UK’s 5G network infrastructure.

The review follows claims by the US that Huawei could be used by China to spy on the West – claims the phone maker has repeatedly denied.

- Press Association

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