Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei has touched on how he is inspired by Apple before, and now he’s saying Apple’s stance on user privacy also inspires Huawei. In an interview cited by CNBC, Zhengfei said that Huawei would never provider users’ data to the Chinese government.
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Zhengfei explained that Apple is his “role model” when it comes to user privacy. Apple has historically took a strong stance on protecting user privacy, and that appears to be what Zhengfei is looking to follow at Huawei.
When asked if Huawei would provide user data to the Chinese government, Zhengfei said the company would never do such a thing:
“We will never do such a thing. If I had done it even once, the US would have evidence to spread around the world. Then the 170 countries and regions in which we currently operate would stop buying our products, and our company would collapse.
After that, who would pay the debts we owe? Our employees are all very competent, so they would resign and start their own companies, leaving me alone to pay off our debts. I would rather die.”
He also emphasized that data is owned by users, not by Huawei itself, though he weirdly connected things back to carriers in the end:
“Data is owned by our customers, not us. Carriers have to track every user, otherwise no phone calls could be made. It’s a carrier’s duty to track user data. We, as an equipment provider, don’t track any data,” said the company founder.
Zhengfei’s comments come as Huawei is in the midst of the fallout from a ban in the United States. The company was placed under strict US sanctions, and while Huawei was recently granted access to US companies again, the jury is still out on whether it can continue using Android and Google services.