The coronavirus epidemic and the economic crisis do not prevent the United States from continuing its standoff against Huawei. After accusations of spying for Beijing (without providing evidence) leading to a boycott call for its 5G activities, after Google decided to deprive it of its services for its smartphones, Washington now intends to drain its capabilities purchase of components from American industry.
This is to prevent Huawei from developing semiconductors abroad using American technology. The Chinese group then denounced on Monday an "arbitrary" and "pernicious" decision. The fact remains that this new burst of sanctions risks having a major impact on the activity of the giant, which concedes that it is now in "survival" mode, according to Ryan Liu, deputy director of "Huawei University", where employees of the group.
US pressure "naturally raises concerns," he admits. "But I have worked for Huawei for many years and I am sure that the company will guide us on the right path," he told AFP.
And to continue: "this challenge (from the United States) will plunge us into an atmosphere of crisis but our answer is to do our job well, knowing that it will end up paying".
Nevertheless, for Kelsey Broderick, an analyst at the consulting firm Eurasia Group, these new sanctions "will have a major impact on Huawei" if they are effectively applied.
Because if Huawei has managed to circumvent the boycott of Google by developing its own system (HarmonyOS) for its smartphones and if the calls not to supply itself at home for 5G have finally found little echo in the world, the ban Providing American technology for smartphones may be more complicated to manage.
Strict implementation or not?
There are indeed many American components in Huawei terminals, including 4G / 5G network chips manufactured in particular by Qualcomm and Intel which allow smartphones to connect to mobile networks.
And if Huawei has been using its own processors for its smartphones for a long time through its subsidiary HiSilicon, these chips are based on an architecture sold under license by ARM, a British firm which itself uses American technologies.
The group will therefore struggle to find replacement materials in China, according to observers.
In addition, Washington has, on several occasions, granted delays in the application of its sanctions so as not to penalize the American suppliers of Huawei.
In this context, "the question is whether the implementation of the sanctions will be really strict," observes Ms. Broderick.