Industry bodies' restrictions to have limited impact: analysts
Telecom company Huawei Technologies Co on Sunday remained defiant over mounting pressure from the U.S., after some U.S.-based industry standard bodies temporarily restricted the Chinese company's participation, downplaying the potential impact of the move on its business and blasting the bodies' unjust decisions.
The decisions by two U.S.-based organizations dealt another setback for Huawei as U.S. officials continued to ratchet up the crackdown campaign against the Chinese company as part of a trade and technology battle that Washington has waged with China. However, the move is expected to have very limited impact on Huawei, which has shown strong resolve in standing up to what many call U.S.' bullying and inspired many people not just in China but across the world.
The Wi-Fi Alliance, a consortium of technology companies that sets standards for wireless technology, has temporarily restricted Huawei's participation in the group's activities, which it said were covered by a U.S. government ban on the company, according to several U.S. media outlets.
SD Association, which develops standards for memory cards, has also restricted Huawei, saying that it was complying with orders from U.S. officials, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on Friday. Also, JEDEC, a group that sets standards for semiconductors, also suspended Huawei's participation, the report said.
In a lengthy statement on Sunday, Huawei downplayed the impact of the decisions on its business. It also criticized the industry groups' lack of fair and non-discriminatory principles and highlighted its own contributions to global industry groups.
"Current and future Huawei products and services will not be affected by certain organizations and their actions that violate the principles of transparency, openness, impartiality and non-discrimination," Huawei said in the statement it sent to the Global Times.
It further noted that standards and industry bodies should not restrict, suspend or terminate the rights of any member that complies with their rules. "They must not hinder the cooperation and contribution of global industry players to open standards because of any country's, organization's or individual's political motivation."
Though the temporary restrictions might bar Huawei from meetings and other activities, they will have a very limited impact on the company's operations because the standards set by those organizations are open, according to analysts.
"We can say there is no impact at all in the short term. If Huawei were to be banned for a long term, it might have less say in setting industry standards," Fu Liang, a veteran telecom industry analyst, said while noting that these are just several of the hundreds of groups Huawei is part of.
Huawei has joined more than 400 standards, industry and other organizations and has submitted a total of nearly 60,000 proposals over the years, the company said in the statement on Sunday.
Huawei is now industry partners in setting global standards in 5G, and Huawei has already been eliminating products that use the SD Association's standards such as the MicroSD, said Mei Xinyu, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.
"How much damage could (SD) cause by suspending Huawei's membership?" Mei asked rhetorically, noting that these organizations could also miss out the massive Chinese market if they shut out Huawei.
"If there are some member companies in these organizations that are causing trouble in this situation, we could drive them out of the world's largest single market for smartphones," he said.
In light of the Huawei situation, Chinese officials have also vowed to take necessary measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.
Although some U.S. officials have seemed to be determined to drive Huawei out of the high-stakes 5G race using state power, U.S. President Donald Trump has also indicated that Huawei is just a bargaining chip in the China-U.S. trade war, saying the Huawei case could be included in a trade pact.
But many in China are increasingly convinced that the U.S. is not just after a single Chinese company but China's rights to economic prosperity and technological innovations, and that Huawei and the country must prepare for a protracted battle.