By cutting off Huawei from U.S. technology, the Trump administration is forever changing the relationship between the world’s largest economies.
The story of the Chinese technology giant Huawei is, in miniature, the story of China’s extraordinary economic rise. Founded in 1987 in Shenzhen, which at the time was still an unglamorous backwater, Huawei’s early efforts centered around reselling telecom equipment imported from neighboring Hong Kong and, at the same time, working feverishly to figure out how to manufacture low-cost imitations of such equipment.
In less than a decade, Huawei went from being little more than a middleman to being one of Asia’s leading manufacturers of network technology, helped along by the support of the Chinese party-state, including the People’s Liberation Army, an early and devoted customer. Today Huawei is by one account the world’s seventh-largest tech company, and a mainstay of Shenzhen’s thriving hardware ecosystem. In recent years, the company has routinely sold more smartphones than Apple, and in 2018 it generated roughly as much revenue as Microsoft.
Photo by Kevin Frayer / Stringer