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By Heather Mowbray / Sep 04, 2020 01:55 PM / Business & Tech

Huawei chief Ren Zhengfei said the challenges facing his company will help forge “heroes,” as he sought to signal the firm is down but not out.

Addressing strategy experts and new recruits at an internal forum Thursday (link in Chinese), the Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. CEO and founder said that while the firm was operating in unprecedented and troubling times, talented staff were being cultivated across the board.

The company’s R&D system alone comprises 90,000 employees, far more than one would see in a “Western” tech company, he said, which may be able to function at a high level with fewer people and more resources, but without Huawei’s tribulations would raise fewer “heroes”.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce further tightened rules restricting the sale of microchips and other technology to Huawei, which effectively banned any company, anywhere in the world, from supplying it with chips unless approved by the U.S.

Regarding the latest round of U.S. hostility towards the Chinese tech company, which the Trump administration has said is based on unspecified security threats and Huawei’s alleged links with the Chinese military, Ren said, “It takes one U.S. government directive, and we have to change thousands of circuit boards, parts, and algorithms. Once we’ve made the changes, we have to do it all again... We end up making changes to our circuit boards on repeat.”

Contact reporter Heather Mowbray (

Related: In Depth: Huawei Has a Sanction-Proof Pile of Processors, but They Won’t Last Long

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