Huawei focusing on survival amid U.S. sanctions, tech giant’s Japan chief says

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Surviving in the face of stepped-up sanctions by the United States is the top strategy for Huawei Technologies Co., Jeff Wang, chairman of the Chinese technology giant’s Japan unit, has said in a recent interview with Jiji Press.

Amid rising tensions between the United States and China, Huawei in September last year was slapped with fresh U.S. sanctions aimed at blocking the firm’s procurement of high-performance semiconductors.

The U.S. action has affected Huawei’s ability to secure supplies of chips from companies such as Japan’s Kioxia Holdings Corp. and Toshiba Corp.

In the interview, held in Tokyo, Wang admitted that Huawei has been dealt a blow by the sanctions. But he also pointed out that Japanese chipmakers are bearing the brunt of the measure because they are unable to supply their products to Huawei.

The chairman added that he hopes the Japanese government will urge Washington to allow the restart of chip supplies to Huawei.

According to Wang, Huawei procured some ¥1.1 trillion’s worth of semiconductors in Japan in 2019, but the figure fell to around ¥900 billion in 2020.

With the U.S. sanctions widely seen remaining for the foreseeable future, Wang stressed Huawei’s determination to keep its Japanese operations afloat by thoroughly focusing on what sells well until the business environment improves in the future.

He denied that Huawei will scale back or pull the plug on its Japanese operations although the sanctions have been affecting its mainline smartphone business.

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