Back in 2019 citing security concerns, the United States government added Huawei to the country's entity list, restricting its ability to conduct business with American companies. This locked the company out of Google mobile services on its phones, as well as access to chips from TSMC. The Chinese tech giant was forced to sell its Honor sub-division to a Chinese consortium to save its supply chain and is also looking to sell its P and Mate brands, used for its top-of-the-line flagship devices.
As Huawei makes most of its money selling smartphones and networking equipment, the company's founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei wants to counter the effect of U.S. sanctions by pivoting to software and services. According to an internal memo seen by Reuters, he urged the company’s staff to “dare to lead the world” in software. Ren said that software development is fundamentally "outside of U.S. control and we will have greater independence and autonomy".
In addition, he called on staff to "absorb nutrients through open-source communities" and focus on the development of the company’s HarmonyOS operating system, its cloud AI computing framework MindSpore, as well as other software products. HarmonyOS already seems to be following this philosophy, as the supposedly home-grown operating system turned out to be a poorly disguised Android clone.
Ren also suggested that the company should hire psychology professionals to aid young employees who may have trouble keeping up with Huawei’s exhausting work culture, stating: "Now some young people have high IQs, but their EQ might be low, and their mentality is not mature, and it's easy for them to get sick."
Furthermore, the CEO wants to beef up the company’s market presence outside its home country of China and reduce the influence of U.S. companies. "Once we dominate Europe, the Asia Pacific and Africa, if U.S. standards don't match ours, and we can't enter the U.S., then the U.S. can't enter our territory, the memo said.