Huawei executives support suggestion that Trump switch to its smartphones after China dismisses iPhone eavesdropping report
- Huawei’s mobile segment chief Richard Yu Chengdong showed his agreement in a post to his WeChat social media feed
At least two executives at Huawei Technologies have taken to social media to support Beijing’s wry suggestion that US President Donald Trump switch to its smartphones amid allegations of Chinese eavesdropping.
The New York Times reported on October 24 that Chinese and Russian spies listen to Trump's conversations made on his unsecured iPhone, which drew an unusual response from Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.
Hua dismissed the report as “fake news” and said that “there are those in America who are sparing no effort to win the Oscar for best screenplay.” She also suggested that if Trump is still worried after using a Huawei, he can stop using all modern communication tools and cut all means of communication with the outside world.
Her comment went viral on the internet and was viewed millions of times on various platforms.
Huawei’s mobile segment chief Richard Yu Chengdong showed his agreement on Thursday in a post to his WeChat social media feed seen by the South China Morning Post.
“Agree. Can use Huawei Mate 20 series!” Yu wrote in his posting, which included a video of Hua’s comments at the foreign ministry briefing and a cheeky smiley.
Huawei did not immediately comment on the posting when contacted by the Post.
Yu stood onstage in Las Vegas at the CES trade show in January this year expecting to unveil a partnership with a major US telecommunications carrier to sell Huawei’s smartphones. Security concerns were widely reported to have prompted AT&T to walk away at the last minute from the smartphone distribution deal with Huawei. It was later reported that Verizon Communications also abandoned plans to distribute Huawei’s smartphones in the US.
Since then, the US has banned Huawei from supplying telecommunications equipment to the government and its contractors, and has pressured its allies not to allow the company to take part in government contracts, citing concerns over privacy and national security and its ties to the Chinese government. Huawei has consistently denied the allegations.
In May, the Pentagon also ordered retail outlets on US military bases to stop selling Huawei and ZTE smartphones. Several US electronics retailers including Best Buy, which had been selling unlocked Huawei phones, ceased sales of smartphones from the Chinese company following the decision by US carriers.
Huawei unveiled its latest flagship Mate 20 series in London this month, subsequently announcing that it has no plans to sell the phones in the US. The company also warned consumers in the US who buy the phones from online resellers that they may face warranty and after-sales service issues.
Perhaps mindful of the lack of distribution channels for Huawei phones in the US, Bruce Lee, vice-president of handset business at Huawei Consumer Business Group, offered his help to Trump in a Sina Weibo post.
After first thanking Hua for recommending Huawei, Lee said that “Trump can contact me if he faces difficulties buying a Huawei phone”.