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Huawei founder is confident UK 'won't say no to us' in 5G rollout

Ren Zhengfei told Sky News he's confident Britain will use Huawei equipment despite US security concerns, and noted the threat posed by its HarmonyOS.

CHINA-HUAWEI-US-TELECOM

Huawei's boss is confident the company will plant its flag in the UK's 5G network.

Fred Dufour / AFP/Getty Images

Huawei's founder and CEO reckons the UK "won't say no to us" when it comes to using the Chinese company's equipment in its 5G next generation wireless infrastructure, despite ongoing US security concerns. Speaking to Sky News, Ren Zhengfei also praised new Prime Minister Boris Johnson as "very decisive."

"I think they won't say no to us as long as they go through those rigorous tests and look at it in a serious manner and I think if they do say no, it won't be to us," he said in the interview.

Huawei has been a target of US lawmakers over concerns about its links with the Chinese government and fears that its equipment could be used to spy on other countries and companies. The US actively discouraged its European allies not to use Huawei in their 5G networks.

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Back in April, the UK's National Security Council apparently agreed to let the scandal-scarred telecoms giant work on "noncore" parts of the infrastructure, but there's been a great deal of upheaval since then -- namely a changing British government and US President Donald Trump blacklisting Huawei, which stopped American companies from selling equipment to it, but he's since said he'll reverse the ban.

Ren also talked to Sky News about the potential block on Huawei phones using Google's Android, in the wake of the company unveiling HarmonyOS last week. Huawei said it could be used on phones if it loses access to Android -- which might ultimately hurt the US.

"If the US government does not allow Google to provide Android system, then the world may have a third operating system -- and that is not in the best benefit or interests of the United States, allowing a little brother operating system into the world," Ren said.

"You cannot rule out the chance that the third operating system might outrun them someday."

The UK Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Department, which is responsible for the 5G rollout, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

First published at 3:13 a.m. PT.
Updated at 3:51 a.m. PT: Adds more detail.