It was reported last week that Huawei is “open” to selling its 5G modems exclusively to Apple and today, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei has confirmed in an interview with CNBC that the company is indeed open to providing its 5G chips to the iPhone maker.
“We are open to Apple in this regard,” Ren said. The CEO spoke in Mandarin, which was translated into English by an official translator. In a wide-ranging conversation, Ren called Apple a “great company” and its founder Steve Jobs a “great man.”
“Mr. Jobs was great not because he created Apple, but because he created an era, the mobile internet era,” Ren told CNBC. “Saying that he was great is an understatement. I think he was super-great.”
Ren also recalled a story about his youngest daughter Annabel Yao from 2011, the year Jobs died.
“When he passed away, I was on a vacation in the mountains with my family,” Ren said. “My younger daughter is a fan of Mr. Jobs, so she proposed that we stop for a moment of silence to mourn him, and we did.”
The Huawei boss admitted the company made mistakes in its smartphone strategy but says it learned from them.
The United States has banned Huawei networking equipment over fears of state espionage, while its allies in Australia and New Zealand have done the same. Canada has not made a decision to ban Huawei yet, as the federal government says a review of 5G technology is still ongoing.
Both Canada and China are embroiled in a diplomatic dispute, over the arrest of Huawei CFO and daughter of Ren, Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, B.C., last December. The CFO is now undergoing an extradition process to the U.S., and the saga has in turn resulted in the detainment of two Canadians in China, while affecting Canada’s canola exports to the Asian nation.