The United States and Huawei have been at loggerheads since May last year, when the Chinese firm was first put on the infamous US Entity list. Since then, Huawei has only been able to conduct business with US firms at the mercy of the US Department of Commerce and its periodic license extensions.
The last 90-day extension was handed out in November 2019, which means it’s time for a renewal or cancellation. Much to Huawei’s relief, it’s gotten the former.
How long is the extension and what does it mean for Huawei?
The temporary general license which allows American companies to do some business with Huawei has been extended for another 45 days. Here’s what the Department of Commerce wrote in its extension announcement:
The 45-day extension is necessary to allow existing telecommunication providers -- particularly those in rural US communities -- the ability to continue to temporarily and securely operate existing networks while they identify alternatives to Huawei for future operation
While this may be good news for Huawei and its US partners, the license extension has been cut in half this time around. A 45-day extension instead of 90 days does not look very promising for the future of US-Huawei relations. It also further diminishes hope of Huawei phones regaining Google services any time soon.
The setback can be attributed to Huawei’s ongoing tussle with the US government. Things have heated up quite a bit in the recent past. Huawei has refuted allegations made by US officials that it has backdoors to network providers around the world. Meanwhile, the US Department of Justice has filed a rather harsh indictment against Huawei, accusing it of racketeering.
It’s hard to say if the US government’s actions are truly warranted or if Huawei has just ended up becoming an unwilling pawn in the already troubled US-China trade relations.
Just what will be the future of Huawei phones in such an environment? Looks like the company will have to double down on its HMS offerings and look for immediate alternatives to Google apps in order to protect its global interests.
Otherwise, Huawei could be looking at losing its prominent position in the smartphone market to other Chinese rivals.