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Huawei reportedly plans massive US layoffs

The US blacklisting may cost Americans their jobs, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Huawei may be preparing to scale back its US operations.

Érika García / CNET

Huawei is planning major layoffs at its US research labs as it struggles under the weight of the Commerce Department blacklisting, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. The embattled Chinese telecom's Futurewei R&D subsidiary employs about 850 people in Texas, California and Washington state.

The layoffs may number in the hundreds, according to the Journal, which cited anonymous sources. A few people apparently already know that they'll be dismissed, but further cuts are expected and some Chinese workers are being allowed to continue with Huawei if they return home.

Huawei didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Huawei was blacklisted in May by being added to the US "entity list" of groups deemed to be acting contrary to national security interests. That came after President Donald Trump signed an executive order essentially banning the company based on national security concerns that it maintained close ties with the Chinese government -- allegations the company has consistently denied. This blacklisting stopped US companies from selling equipment to Huawei.

However, Trump promised last month to ease those restrictions as he tried to revive trade talks between the US and China. Senior administration officials confirmed that companies will be able to resume business with Huawei if they get licenses and there's no threat to national security. Huawei bought $11 billion worth of US technology in 2018, the Journal noted.

First published at 3:47 a.m. PT.
Updated at 4:25 a.m. PT: Adds more detail.