If one of the world’s leading smartphone makers, Huawei, turns away from Google’s Android operating system (OS), the US tech giant risks losing a huge number of users, Huawei’s CEO has warned.
“[Huawei] will always be on the same line of interest, and if we don’t load Google’s system, Google will lose 700-800 million users in the future,” Ren Zhengfei said in an interview to CNBC.
The Chinese telecommunications major was blacklisted last month by the Trump administration after Washington accused the company of spying for Beijing. Google, whose Android OS is used in many of Huawei’s phones, was among the American tech companies prohibited from dealing with Huawei.
The Silicon Valley firm is allowed to send software updates to Huawei products until August 19 this year, but when the ban fully comes into force the Chinese phone maker is set to lose access to some Google apps and will only have access to the open source version of the Android OS.
Huawei said earlier that it is working on its own mobile operating system called Hongmeng and has already filed a trademark. In his interview, the CEO stressed that Hongmeng will allow the company to protect its growth if it is forced to replace Android, which Huawei does not want to do.
The US crackdown on Huawei comes as the world’s two biggest economies are locked in a simmering trade war. Washington has also been trying to persuade its overseas allies to turn away from Huawei technology and equipment, as the Chinese firm is actively involved in the 5G rollout across Europe.
While some EU members remain cautious over dealing with Huawei, such as the UK, others do not see any evidence of the Chinese firm posing security risks. Currently, Germany and Hungary are not excluding Huawei from participation in the high-speed network’s launch, while Spain has already used Huawei equipment when it rolled out its 5G network in 15 cities.