No end in sight for Huawei blacklist woes, says founder
In a press conference on Tuesday, held at the opening of Huawei’s new Intelligent Mining Innovation Lab in Taiyuan, company founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei opened up about Huawei’s plans for its core business, US sanctions, and the future of its smartphone business.
“I am even more confident about Huawei's survival than I was, because we have more ways to overcome those challenges. Our sales revenue and profits in 2020 were higher than last year's,” he told reporters at the event.
He admitted that Huawei’s production of handsets has declined, citing supply chain problems with obtaining enough chips. Huawei’s domestic phone sales in Q4 of 2020. Although the company remains the market leader in China, its market share shrunk to 22%, barely ahead of its biggest competitors, Oppo and Xiaomi.
This has largely been due to ongoing sanctions placed on the company by the US government, which prohibits american companies from doing business with Huawei and Huawei from doing business in the US. The biggest impact of these sanctions has been Huawei’s inability to source chips from US manufacturer Qualcomm, leading the firm to sell off its late last year.
There have even been rumblings of Huawei as well, although Zhengfei dodged questions about Huawei exiting the handset business in his interview, simply stressing that “Huawei does not own a single share of the new Honor entity. The more production capacity they have, the less room there'll be for Huawei's smartphone business. But we must understand the needs of our suppliers, channel partners, and users. We should act in their interests, not just for our own sake. We have to play it by ear.”
When pressed about whether he expects the new Biden administration to spell a reversal of fortunes for Huawei , Zhengfei stressed that “trade benefits both sides. Allowing US companies to supply goods to Chinese customers is conducive to their own financial performance. If Huawei's production capacity expanded, that would mean US companies could sell more. It's a win-win situation.” He added that Huawei, as a technology firm, doesn’t have the energy to “get involved in a political whirlpool,” and that he believes “the new administration will weigh and balance these interests as they consider their policies.”
He admitted, however, that it is still “very unlikely” that the US will remove Huawei from its blacklist. “I won't say it's impossible, but it's extremely unlikely. We basically aren't considering it a possibility,” he said, adding that he welcomed the opportunity to speak with President Biden about the issue, “but he hasn't called. You have my email address and telephone number.”
UK NFIB issues warning over mobile phone scams
The UK’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has issued a warning to mobile phone users after being made aware of an ongoing mobile scam involving customers being “cold-called” by individuals impersonating employees of mobile network operators and suppliers.
What is the mobile network scam and what happens?
According to the organisation, the scams include offers of early handset upgrades, or new contracts with significant discounts. The NFIB says that, once scammers have convinced the customers that the deals are genuine, they then ask for online mobile account credentials, home addresses, bank account details, logins, and passwords.
Using these details, the suspects then place orders with genuine companies on the victims’ behalf, before selecting a different handset to the one requested, and sending it to that victim’s home address.
Once the victims have received the handsets, the suspect then explains that it was made in error, instructing them to send the handset to a different address not associated with the company they claim to be calling from. The NFIB says that these addresses are normally residential.
The final stage involves the scammers intercepting the supposedly returned devices before ceasing all contact with the victim, leaving them with no phone and no mobile network contract.
Since January 2020, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has received over 300 reports of this particular scam, reporting losses exceeding £86,000. So what can you do to protect yourself?
How to protect yourself from a mobile network scam
- If the caller asks about mobile upgrades and network contracts, hang up without giving out any personal information if you are unsure as to whether the call is genuine or if you think that the person calling is not from the company they claim to be from.
- Only contact your mobile network provider using a number that you know is correct. But what if you don’t know? There are usually contact details such as this and including a phone number on the operator’s official website.
- If you receive a device or handset that you didn’t order, contact the genuine sender immediately, the details of which will be displayed on the parcel or package the device was shipped in.
- NEVER post a device to an unknown address. Genuine employees of mobile networks would not ask you to do this and would always send a jiffy bag or empty package for you to return the device without any additional charges.
Any incidents can be reported to Action Fraud at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.