3. CEO: Huawei can survive more U.S. "attacks"
Huawei chief Ren Zhengfei said today that he is prepared for any further U.S. "attacks," but he believes the world can avoid splitting into two separate technology systems.
Why it matters: The U.S. and China are locked in a fierce trade battle, with restrictions already limiting Huawei's ability to sell phones around the world.
"We are more confident we can survive even further attacks," Zhengfei said, appearing at the WEF Annual Meeting.
The backdrop: Last year, citing security concerns. the U.S. imposed a variety of restrictions that further limited Huawei's ability to do business in the U.S. as well as hampering its global operations by limiting its access to U.S. chips and software. The U.S. is also pressuring allies not to use Huawei's networking technology for their 5G systems.
- Zhengfei expressed optimism the tensions won't lead to a complete bifurcation of Western and Chinese technology. "Whether the world will be split in two systems, I don't think so," he said. "Science is about truth; there is only one truth. It is unique."
Meanwhile: The panel with Zhengfei, which also featured Israeli philosopher Yuval Noah Harari, included a lot of harkening back to the Cold War and the race to build the atom bomb.
- Harari pointed out that the U.S.-China tech Cold War is very close to a real arms race — the development of lethal autonomous weapons.
Yes, but: Harari ended on a hopeful note, pointing out that, in theory, powerful emerging tech could end up enhancing individual rights. Surveillance technology could keep tabs on big business and government, and antivirus software could detect efforts to manipulate your mind.