We break down the saga of the controversial Chinese telecom giant, day by day.
Huawei is the world’s No. 1 telecom supplier and No. 2 phone manufacturer, but it’s a pariah in countries like the US. For more than a year, there’s been no shortage of scrutiny on the Chinese telecom giant, and a number of countries have banned the use of its networking equipment. Its phones are virtually invisible in the US despite its massive presence around the world.
The company’s chairman predicted that 2020 will be “difficult” for Huawei, and the early going seems to bear that out — the US is continuing to pressure allies to block Huawei from their next-generation 5G wireless networks. Despite this, January saw UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving the company approval to build non-core parts of the country’s 5G infrastructure, setting an important precedent as the wireless tech becomes increasingly mainstream.
In April, Huawei reported that its revenue for the first quarter of the year was 182.2 billion yuan (around $25.7 billion) — an increase of 1.4% year over year — despite the coronavirus pandemic.
The core issue with Huawei has been concerns about its coziness with the Chinese government and fears that its equipment could be used to spy on other countries and companies. It’s the reason why the US banned companies from using Huawei networking equipment in 2012 and why the company was added to the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security Entity List in May 2019, following an executive order from President Donald Trump effectively banning Huawei from US communications networks. A year later, Trump extended the order until 2021.
The US offered a reprieve to companies, allowing them to work with Huawei through temporary licenses, but the Commerce Department has also accused the company of exploiting the rules to continue using American technology in its semiconductor design.
Huawei has long denied any wrongdoing and continues to maintain its innocence.
It can be tough to keep pace with the sheer number of headlines, so here’s a timeline gathering a bunch from 2018 to today.
May 22, 2020: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly looks to reduce Huawei’s role in country’s 5G networks.
May 18, 2020: Huawei criticizes new US rules as “pernicious” and “arbitrary,” and China reportedly prepares to take “forceful countermeasures” against US tech companies.
May 14, 2020: Trump extends executive order targeting Huawei for another year.
May 7, 2020: US rule might let American companies work with Huawei on 5G.
May 1, 2020: Huawei Australia’s carrier business drops 21% for 2019 as 5G ban bites.
April 29, 2020: Huawei reportedly expands partnership with European chipmaker in the face of increasing US restrictions on suppliers.
April 21, 2020: Huawei reports 1.4% revenue increase for the first quarter of 2020 as it grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. Also, senior British official reportedly says UK is unlikely to reconsider “firm” decision to allow Huawei access to non-sensitive parts of its 5G network.
April 20, 2020: Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei downplays his influence over the company in a South China Morning Post profile.
April 17, 2020: Chinese teaser video showcases Huawei’s Nova 7 phone series ahead April 23 reveal.
April 15, 2020: BT delays removal of Huawei equipment from EE’s core network by two years.
April 13, 2020: Huawei warns that disrupting its involvement in Britain’s 5G rollout would do the country “a disservice.”
April 2, 2020: Huawei signs non-aggression patent pact as it joins Open Invention Network.
March 31, 2020: Huawei reports smallest profit increase in three years as US ban takes its toll.
March 27, 2020: Huawei reportedly starts working on cloud gaming platform with Tencent, the biggest games company in the world.
March 24, 2020: Huawei P40 and P40 Pro apparently leak online ahead of launch.
March 6, 2020: Huawei reportedly projects major drop in phone sales amid US sanctions.
March 4, 2020: Nokia and Ericsson pitch themselves to US lawmakers as Huawei 5G alternative. Also, Huawei pleads not guilty to new US criminal charges in 2018 case and FCC’s Brendan Carr says US “cannot treat Huawei as anything other than a threat to our collective security.”
March 3, 2020: US senators urge UK to reconsider use of Huawei gear in its 5G network.
March 2, 2020: Leaked documents reportedly reveal Huawei’s role in shipping prohibited US gear to Iran.
Feb. 28, 2020: Huawei will spend €200 million on new 5G plant in France.
Feb. 26, 2020: Officials from Huawei and Defense Department spar at cybersecurity panel.
Feb. 24, 2020: Huawei will launch its P40 Pro in Paris on March 26, its upgraded Mate XS foldable will be available outside China and the company is bringing a new tablet, speaker and green MateBook X Pro laptop to Europe. And Trump reportedly accuses British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of “betrayal” in a heated phone call about Huawei 5G decision.
Feb. 23, 2020: Google warns people against sideloading its apps on Huawei’s P40 phones.
Feb. 21, 2020: The White House reportedly is planning a 5G summit to combat Huawei.
Feb. 20, 2020: Huawei makes an aggressive 5G infrastructure product pitch to European nations.
Feb. 18, 2020: A judge dismisses a Huawei suit challenging the US government’s equipment ban.
Feb. 14, 2020: Huawei gets another 45-day reprieve from Commerce Department.
Feb. 13, 2020: The Justice Department charges Huawei with racketeering and theft of trade secrets.
Feb. 11, 2020: The US reportedly finds Huawei has backdoor access to mobile networks globally.
Feb. 7, 2020: Attorney General William Barr suggests that US take a “controlling stake” in Ericsson or Nokia to counter Huawei.
Feb. 5, 2020: Vodafone says implementing UK and European Huawei restrictions could take five years.
Feb. 3, 2020: Huawei asks FCC to drop national “unlawful and misguided” security risk label, and updates its “ultralight” MateBook D laptops.
Jan. 30, 2020: Australian politicians dismiss talk of revisiting Huawei 5G ban.
Jan. 29, 2020: EU allows Huawei for 5G, but warns states to limit core network access.
Jan. 24, 2020: The Pentagon reportedly blocked even tighter rules on US companies selling to Huawei.
Jan. 20, 2020: Huawei will use TomTom’s navigation software and data after losing Google Maps.
Jan. 9, 2020: Sen. Tom Cotton unveils a bill to stop the US from sharing intelligence with countries that use Huawei 5G technology.
Jan. 7, 2020: Huawei is allowed to participate in India’s 5G trial phase.
Dec. 31, 2019: Huawei boosted phone sales in 2019 but predicts a “difficult” 2020.
Dec. 26, 2019: Huawei rebuts suggestions that Chinese state support drove its growth.
Dec. 20, 2019: Huawei’s new P40 Pro rumored to have 10x optical zoom.
Dec. 19, 2019: Greenland opts for Sweden’s Ericsson over Huawei for 5G rollout.
Dec. 18, 2019: Huawei opens 5G innovation center in London.
Dec. 16, 2019: US House of Representatives passes bill barring government from buying Huawei gear.
Dec. 15, 2019: Norway’s Telenor says Huawei will still play a role in the country’s 5G rollout.
Dec. 13, 2019: Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou wins court order to receive documents for her arrest and extradition.
Dec. 5, 2019: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes selfie with Huawei phone after hinting at ban.
Dec. 4, 2019: Huawei slams FCC’s new restrictions as unconstitutional in legal challenge.
Dec. 2, 2019: Huawei predicts Australia’s 5G ban will force it to cut 1,500 jobs.
Nov. 29, 2019: Huawei will apparently fight the FCC decision to exclude it from federal subsidies.
Nov. 26, 2019: Huawei and Samsung see jump in phone sales for third quarter, while others see decline.
Nov. 25, 2019: Huawei unveils its iPad Pro rival, the MatePad Pro, for China.
Nov. 21, 2019: Microsoft scores license to export software to Huawei.
Nov. 20, 2019: Huawei Mate X’s folding screen costs $1,000 to fix.
Nov. 19, 2019: Huawei says US license extension doesn’t change the fact that it’s being treated unfairly.
Nov. 12, 2019: Huawei is reportedly giving staff $286 million in bonuses for sticking through US ban.
Nov. 8, 2019: Trump’s tech chief slams countries for “opening their arms” to Huawei.
Nov. 7, 2019: Huawei founder says the company’s coping fine with the US trade ban, but stresses the need for open collaboration.
Nov. 5, 2019: Hungary will reportedly work with Huawei in building its 5G network.
Nov. 4, 2019: US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says licenses allowing US companies to sell equipment to Huawei “will be forthcoming very shortly.”
Nov. 1, 2019: Huawei might be working on an iPad Pro-style tablet.
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Oct. 28, 2019: The Federal Communications Commission says it’ll cut off funding to wireless carriers using Huawei and ZTE equipment.
Oct. 23, 2019: Huawei launches the Mate X foldable phone in China and celebrates hitting 200 million phone shipments two months sooner than it did last year. Also, the company’s cybersecurity chief says it’d be easier to bribe telecom staff than build backdoors into networks.
Oct. 21, 2019: A Huawei executive acknowledges the company’s struggling without Google support.
Oct. 16, 2019: Huawei sold a whole bunch of phones despite the US ban, while a Mate X unboxing video hints at the foldable phone’s imminent release. Also, Germany caused an uproar with draft network security rules that would let Huawei work on its 5G networks.
Oct. 15, 2019: Huawei and Sunrise co-build a 5G research center in Switzerland.
Oct. 9, 2019: Trump is reportedly ready to approve sales of US goods to Huawei.
Oct. 4, 2019: Malaysian telecom Maxis signs up with Huawei for 5G.
Oct. 2, 2019: Huawei Mate 30 phones apparently lose backdoor access to Google apps.
Sept. 30, 2019: Huawei opens flagship store in Shenzhen.
Sept. 26, 2019: Huawei apparently is making 5G base stations without US parts, and Norway says it won’t ban the company from its 5G rollout.
Sept. 10, 2019: Huawei drops a lawsuit against the US government after its telecom equipment is returned.
Sept. 9, 2019: Microsoft President Brad Smith wants the US government to offer more evidence to back up its Huawei ban. Also, US prosecutors charge a Chinese professor with fraud for allegedly taking a California company’s tech for Huawei’s benefit.
Sept. 8, 2019: Huawei’s Mate X foldable phone could go on sale in October.
Sept. 2, 2019: Huawei announces that the Mate 30 series launches Sept. 19
Aug. 22, 2019: Huawei says it has no plans to launch a Harmony-powered phone.
Aug. 19, 2019: US Commerce Department extends reprieve allowing companies to work with Huawei.
Aug. 18, 2019: Trump says he doesn’t want to do business with Huawei due to the “national security threat” it represents.
Aug. 16, 2019: Huawei’s founder expresses confidence that UK “won’t say no to us” in its 5G rollout.
Aug. 14, 2019: Huawei is apparently researching 6G wireless internet connectivity.
Aug. 13, 2019: India remains undecided on letting Huawei sell its 5G networking equipment in the country.
Aug. 6, 2019: Huawei Twitter poll reveals its followers think it’s owned by the Chinese government, but people on Facebook disagree.
Aug. 4, 2019: Huawei will reportedly release a cheap phone powered by its Hongmeng OS in late 2019.
July 31, 2019: Huawei beat iPhone with 17% global market share in 2019’s second quarter, research firm said.
July 29, 2019: Huawei and Google were reportedly working on a smart speaker before ban.
July 26, 2019: Chinese authorities suspect FedEx illegally held back over 100 Huawei packages, report said.
July 25, 2019: Electronics company reportedly “seized” $100M of Huawei goods following US ban.
July 24, 2019: United Arab Emirates telecom says US ban on Huawei isn’t an issue for its 5G network.
July 23, 2019: Huawei lays off more than 600 US workers due to blacklisting.
July 22, 2019: Leaked documents suggested that Huawei secretly helped build North Korea’s wireless network. Also, the White House gathering tech execs for a meeting where Trump reportedly said Huawei licensing deals will be “timely.”
July 19, 2019: Huawei says Hongmeng OS isn’t designed as an Android replacement.
July 16, 2019: Bipartisan group of senators introduces 5G legislation that would keep Huawei blacklisted.
July 15, 2019: Canada may wait until after October elections to decide on Huawei ban, while the US will reportedly let Huawei sell to companies within weeks. Also, Huawei reportedly plans major layoffs at its US research labs.
July 9, 2019: US will allow licensed sales to Huawei, but it remains blacklisted.
July 7, 2019: Huawei CEO says its HongMeng OS alternative is ‘likely’ faster than Android, but needs its own app store.
July 4, 2019: US government tries to get Huawei lawsuit thrown out.
July 3, 2019: Huawei remains on Commerce Department’s blacklist despite Trump’s latest decision.
July 2, 2019: Huawei reportedly isn’t sure about using Android in future phones.
July 1, 2019: Trump official says eased Huawei restrictions only apply to widely available products.
June 29, 2019: Trump decides to lift some restrictions on US companies selling to Huawei.
June 27, 2019: Huawei employees worked on Chinese military research projects, according to a report from Bloomberg.
June 24, 2019: Huawei says it’ll increase its 5G investment in spite of US ban, while attorneys for its imprisoned CFO have asked for the US extradition request to be withdrawn. Also, an FCC commissioner wants Huawei gear out of US networks, and the Trump administration reportedly is thinking about requiring domestic 5G equipment to be made outside China.
June 21, 2019: Huawei unveils a trio of new Nova 5 phones in China as US tensions simmer, and its Mate X foldable phone will reportedly launch by September. The US also blacklists five more Chinese tech companies.
June 19, 2019: Huawei’s CEO isn’t worried about $30 billion revenue hit from US ban.
June 13, 2019: Chinese ambassador warns Britain that excluding Huawei from 5G sends a “bad signal.”
June 7, 2019: Facebook stops letting Huawei preinstall its apps, and Google reportedly warns the Trump administration that its Huawei ban creates a national security risk. Also, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s extradition hearing is set for January 2020.
June 5, 2019: Huawei chairman says company would sign a “no-spy” deal with US.
June 4, 2019: Huawei trade secrets trial reportedly kicks off in Texas.
June 3, 2019: Science publisher IEEE reverses its week-old ban on Huawei scientists reviewing technical papers.
June 2, 2019: Huawei reportedly strips back production of phones amid US crackdown.
May 30, 2019: Huawei membership restored by SD Association and Wi-Fi Alliance, while it quietly launches its 5G lab in the shadow of the US ban. Also, its wearables shipments quadruple in first quarter.
May 29, 2019: Huawei asks court to rule US ban unconstitutional.
May 28, 2019: Huawei reportedly plans to bring OS to China later this year, internationally in 2020.
May 26, 2019: Huawei’s founder says he’d “be the first to protest” if China retaliated against Apple.
May 23, 2019: US reportedly accuses Huawei of lying about Chinese ties.
May 21, 2019: Huawei reportedly wants its app store to compete with Google’s.
May 19, 2019: Google cuts off Huawei phones from future Android updates.
May 16, 2019: Huawei says US ban will ‘significantly harm’ American jobs and companies.
May 8, 2019: 5G rollout may face a delay in UK over Huawei investigations.
May 3, 2019: Countries draft 5G security proposals as the US warns again of Huawei’s threat.
May 2, 2019: A Huawei leak prompts the sacking of UK defense minister Gavin Williamson.
April 30, 2019: Vodafone found hidden backdoors in Huawei equipment, according to a report.
April 21, 2019: The CIA reportedly says Huawei is funded by Chinese state security.
April 11, 2019: Google and Huawei will pay Nexus 6P owners for bootloop issues in class-action lawsuit.
April 9, 2019: The US reportedly no longer demands a Huawei ban in Germany.
April 8, 2019: Huawei is “open” to selling its 5G chips to Apple, says report.
March 29, 2019: Huawei slams US for having “a loser’s attitude” because its tech can’t compete.
March 28, 2019: British watchdog warns that Huawei products represent “significantly increased risk.”
March 26, 2019: Huawei launches the P30 and P30 Pro in Paris.
March 19, 2019: Angela Merkel pushes back against US pressure to bar Huawei from Germany’s 5G rollout.
March 15, 2019: Huawei’s CFO wanted to quit before arrest, according to the company’s founder.
March 14, 2019: Huawei is developing its own OS in case it can’t use Android or Windows, report says.
March 8, 2019: Huawei sues the US government over its equipment ban.
March 5, 2019: Huawei reportedly calls for international cybersecurity standards.
Feb. 28, 2019: Chinese kids literally sing Huawei’s praises in surreal video.
Feb. 26, 2019: Samsung and Huawei settle 2-year-old patent dispute.
Feb. 25, 2019: Huawei could face a solar tech ban in the US.
Feb. 24, 2019: Huawei unveils the Mate X foldable phone.
Feb. 22, 2019: Italian politicians reportedly push for Huawei 5G ban.
Feb. 21, 2019: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says countries using Huawei tech pose a risk to the US.
Feb. 19, 2019: Ren tells the BBC “there’s no way the US can crush us.”
Feb. 17, 2019: The UK reportedly concludes that using Huawei in 5G is a manageable risk.
Feb. 6, 2019: US State Department discourages European countries from using Huawei equipment in their 5G rollouts.