Rumours have been fast spreading on instant messengers and social media about the HUAWEI Trump ban, leading to a ton of misconceptions, misunderstandings and outright BS.
In this article, we will explain the HUAWEI Trump ban, and what it means to HUAWEI and to you, the customer.
The HUAWEI Trump Ban Timeline Updated!
The US government’s distrust of HUAWEI goes back many years, and only grew as HUAWEI became one of China’s biggest and arguably, most visible global companies with over $100 billion in revenue and over 180,000 employees worldwide.
Circa 2010 : US intelligence officers began claiming that HUAWEI was serving as a proxy for the Chinese government
2011 : The US government squelched HUAWEI’s attempt to acquire 3Leaf Systems, a US company that offers server virtualisation solutions.
2012-10-08 : The US House Intelligence Committee released a report about its investigations into HUAWEI and ZTE, which also questioned their dealings with Iran.
2018-08-13 : US President Trump banned the use of HUAWEI and ZTE products by US government agencies.
2018-12-01 : Meng Wanzhou, HUAWEI’s global chief financial officer and the daughter of its founder, Ren Zhengfei, is arrested by Canadian authorities at the request of the United States.
Early 2019 : The Trump government begins earnestly pressuring allies to stop using HUAWEI telecommunications equipment, particularly in building new 5G networks.
2019-05-10 : The US-Chinese trade talks failed, and President Trump immediately raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.
2019-05-15 : President Trump signed an executive order barring US companies from using telecommunications equipment from sources that are “national security threats”. The US Commerce Department also added HUAWEI to the Entity List of US national security threats.
2019-05-16 : ARM issued a memo instructing their employees to suspend business with HUAWEI. Read our full report and analysis.
2019-05-19 : Google announced that it would suspend business with HUAWEI to comply with US law.
2019-05-20 : Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Micron and Western Digital announce that they will stop supplying HUAWEI. German chipmaker Infineon also stopped some shipments.
2019-05-20 : The Bureau of Industry and Security of the US Commerce Department announced a 90-day temporary licence to HUAWEI, partially restoring their access to US technology and suppliers.
2019-05-21 : FedEx in Singapore and Hong Kong withheld two HUAWEI packages for “delivery exception“. Read our full report and analysis.
2019-05-23 : Two packages from Japan bound for HUAWEI in China were diverted to the FedEx HQ in the United Stataes instead. Read our full report and analysis.
2019-05-25 : The SD Association removed HUAWEI as a member, but the NM Card gives an extra workaround. Read our full report.
2019-05-26 : The WiFi Alliance temporarily suspends HUAWEI, but this only affects future Wi-Fi standards. Read our full report and analysis.
2019-05-29 : HUAWEI announced a legal challenge on the constitutionality of the HUAWEI Trump ban, but it will be too late to help them. However, China has a Trump card!
2019-05-29 : Malaysian Prime Minister (and the world’s OLDEST prime minister) Dr. Mahathir Mohammad said that Malaysia has no intention on shunning HUAWEI, and that they will “try to make use of their technology as much as possible“.
2019-05-29 : The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) told its editors to stop using HUAWEI scientists and engineers to review scientific papers for fear of “severe legal implications”.
2019-06-02 : The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) reversed their decision to ban HUAWEI scientists and engineers from reviewing scientific papers! Read our full report and analysis!
2019-06-12 : HUAWEI confirmed that they were postponing the launch of their refreshed MateBook laptop indefinitely, because they are unable to purchase the necessary components from US-based companies like Intel.
At the same time, Broadcom slashed its annual revenue outlook by a whopping $2 billion, as a result of the HUAWEI Trump ban. Broadcom shares fell 6% as a result.
2019-06-17 : Microsoft starts selling HUAWEI MateBook laptops again, after removing them from the Microsoft Store when HUAWEI was added to the Entity List.
In their statement, they stated that “[Microsoft] will continue to respond to the many business, technical and regulatory complexities stemming from the recent addition of Huawei to the US Department of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulations Entity List”
2019-06-24 : Despite the HUAWEI Trump ban, HONOR reported that they sold their first batch of HONOR 20 smartphones in 3 hours in Malaysia, with over a million units in China in two weeks. Read our full report!
2019-06-25 : FedEx sued the Trump Administration to block trade restrictions (like the HUAWEI ban) that force it to act as enforcement agents. UPS declined to join the FedEx lawsuit.
2019-06-29 : President Trump stunned everyone by reversing the HUAWEI ban, stating that it was “no great national emergency”; and agreeing not to introduce more tariffs… all without a trade agreement with China. Read our full report and analysis!
2019-07-14 : Reuters reported that the US Commerce Department could start approving licences for US companies to start selling again to HUAWEI in a matter of weeks.
2019-07-22 : Impatient with the US Commerce Department, the CEOs of Google, Cisco, Intel, Broadcom, Micron and Western Digital pressured Donald Trump to force the US Commerce Department to issue licenses allowing them to sell to HUAWEI once again. Read our full report and analysis!
2019-08-19 : The US Commerce Department extended HUAWEI’s temporary general licence by a further 90 days. They also added 46 more HUAWEI affiliates to the Entity List. Read our full report and analysis!
Who Does The HUAWEI Trump Ban Affect?
The HUAWEI Trump ban covers both HUAWEI and its sub-brand, HONOR. As it so happens, HONOR is launching their HONOR 20 smartphone today.
Together with the success of their P30 and P30 Pro smartphones, the ban could not come at a worst time.
What Exactly Does The HUAWEI Trump Ban Do?
Many pundits wrongly quoted Trump’s executive order as the basis for the Google and other US companies suspending supplies to HUAWEI. That is only partly true.
His executive order does not mention HUAWEI at all. In fact, it actually applies to every company listed in the US Entity List, which is over 270 pages long!
It basically prohibits “any acquisition, importation, transfer, installation, dealing in, or use of any information and communications technology or service (transaction)” by “any person… subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” to “persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of a foreign adversary“.
It was really the US Commerce Department’s action of adding HUAWEI (and its 68 affiliates) to the Entity List that forced US companies to stop doing business with HUAWEI.
Even without Trump’s executive order, US companies are generally prohibited from doing business with companies listed in the Entity List. They will have to apply for a licence to export products to those entities.
The HUAWEI Trump Ban Effects
Google rescinded HUAWEI’s Android licence, as well as access to Google Play services and the Play Store. But what does that mean?
- Current HUAWEI and HONOR devices that run on Android and were launched on, or before 16 May 2019 will continue to have access to Google Play services, and the Google Play Store..
- HUAWEI and HONOR devices launched from 17 May 2019 onwards will not have access to Android, Google Play services, or Google Play Store.
- HUAWEI and HONOR will continue to receive Android software updates and patches until 19 August 2019.
In other words, if you own a HUAWEI or HONOR smartphone that was launched before 16 May 2019, you have nothing to worry about… at least until August 2019.
The suspension of business between ARM and HUAWEI has no real effect in the short to medium-term, because HUAWEI can continue to manufacture existing and completed designs.
Read our full report : The HUAWEI ARM Business Suspension – How Bad Is This?
Processor Suppliers : Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom
HUAWEI has long worked on creating their own mobile SoCs, like their flagship-class Kirin 970 and Kirin 980. They have been pretty successful in this regard – all of their top smartphones run on Kirin processors.
They do not have a replacement for the Intel processors that power their MateBook laptops. However, they have apparently prepared for this eventuality by stockpiling 3 months worth of chips.
Memory Suppliers : Micron, Infineon
Fortunately for HUAWEI, most DRAM manufacturers are not US companies, or subject to US law. Whereas Micron (a US company) can no longer supply HUAWEI with memory chips, there are other DRAM companies that can make up the shortfall… including their competitor, Samsung.
Tech Organisations : WiFi, Bluetooth, SD New!
Initially, HUAWEI was quietly but unceremoniously booted from the Wi-Fi Alliance, the Bluetooth SIG and the SD Association. But two weeks later, their memberships were quietly restored. Read our full reports :
- HUAWEI Outsmarts SD + microSD Ban With NM Card!
- The HUAWEI WiFi Alliance Suspension Clarified!
- HUAWEI Bluetooth + WiFi + SD + Android Q Rights Restored!
Perplexingly, the IEEE announced and retracted their ban on HUAWEI scientists and engineers serving as peer reviewers and editors in just four days.
Read our full report : The IEEE Reverses HUAWEI Ban After Just 4 Days!
How Does The HUAWEI Trump Ban Affect YOU?
If you own a HUAWEI or HONOR smartphone sold on or before 16 May 2019, you have NOTHING to worry about.
- Your HUAWEI or HONOR smartphone will continue to work normally
- You will continue to have access to Google Play services, and the Google Play Store.
- You will continue to receive updates and security patches
If you are planning to purchase a future HUAWEI or HONOR smartphone, you should wait and see.
- Despite the ban, HUAWEI still has access to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).
- They can still produce smartphones that run on Android, but won’t be able to install Google Play services, the Google Play Store, or apps by US companies like YouTube and Facebook.
- HUAWEI has been working on its own mobile operating system, HongMeng OS, which is said to be undergoing trials right now.
- Future HUAWEI smartphones may run on HongMeng OS and their own slew of apps, but there will be a dearth of third-party apps, at least initially.
- If the ban persists, HUAWEI will likely be forced to ship future smartphones with stock Android and HUAWEI apps to replace Google Play services.
What About New Devices?
The partial licence from the US Commerce Department only permits “service and support” for “existing” devices that were “available to the public on or before May 16, 2019“.
HUAWEI and its affiliates can create and sell new devices. However, they will not be covered by the temporary licence, and therefore…
- they cannot have Google Play services or Play Store, or any US apps like YouTube and Instagram, installed
- they are not entitled to Android software updates either
That said, US companies or companies that use substantial US technologies can apply to the US Commerce Department for special licences to sell to HUAWEI. As of July 2019, over 50 applications were submitted for consideration.
How Will This Affect HUAWEI’s Business?
This is, no doubt, a really serious problem for HUAWEI. Losing the ability to include Google services will be detrimental to the success of future devices.
The disruption of their supply chain will start to bite if the ban persists beyond three months – that’s when their stockpile runs out. They will also lose the ability to support existing customers with software patches.
However, the issuance of the temporary licence, just days after listing HUAWEI as a foreign adversary and a national security threat, signals that the HUAWEI Trump ban is just another bargaining chip in the US-China trade war.
In all likelihood, Trump is using the HUAWEI ban to force China to accept his terms for a trade deal. He badly needs a face-saving win after numerous failures in recent months.
Why This Is Bad For The Global Economy + Security
President Trump’s persistent pressure on HUAWEI is forcing a decoupling of the Chinese and American economies. This is bad for the global economy, as well as global security.
The intertwining of US and Chinese economies is a form of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) that was once guaranteed by nuclear weapons.
But with an erratic US President cutting off supply to US products and technology essential for their companies, China will continue to turn inwards to insulate their economy, even adopting a form of economic Juche.
The more their economies decouple, the more the US loses the ability to engage China positively on a variety of geopolitical issues. In fact, it may eventually lead to an outright Cold War between the US and China, if not military confrontation.
Recommended Reading : HUAWEI Legal Motion Too Late, But China Has A Trump Card!
The HUAWEI Trump Ban Revision History
Updated @ 2019-08-19 : Added details about the extension of HUAWEI’s temporary general licence (full report).
Updated @ 2019-07-24 : Added details about Trump agreeing to issue licenses for US tech companies to start selling again to HUAWEI (full report).
Updated @ 2019-07-15 : Added details about the slow action by the US Commerce Department
Updated @ 2019-06-29 : Added details about Trump’s shocking reversal of the HUAWEI ban (full report).
Updated @ 2019-06-25 : Added details about the FedEx lawsuit against the Trump Administration.
Updated @ 2019-06-20 : Added details of the diverting of HUAWEI packages by FedEx (full report).
Updated @ 2019-06-17 : Added details of Microsoft’s decision to resume selling HUAWEI MateBook laptops.
Updated @ 2019-06-14 : Added details of the upcoming HUAWEI laptop that will run Windows 10 on ARM (full report), the upcoming sale of the HONOR 20 smartphone (full report), and the impact on Broadcom.
Updated @ 2019-06-03 : Added IEEE’s reversal of its earlier decision to ban HUAWEI employees from reviewing scientific papers (full report).
Updated @ 2019-05-31 : Added many updates, including what Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir said about maximising the use of HUAWEI technologies.
Updated @ 2019-05-26 : Added details of the HUAWEI WiFi Alliance suspension (full report)
Updated @ 2019-05-25 : Added how HUAWEI outsmarted the SD + microSD ban with their NM card (full report)
Updated @ 2019-05-23 : Added details about the HUAWEI ARM business suspension (full report)
Originally posted @ 2019-05-21
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