Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei has said that the company would be ready to share its 5G portfolio with a non-Asian company for a one-off fee.
In an interview with The Economist, Ren said that a potential buyer would have perpetual access to Huawei’s full complement of 5G patents, technical blueprints, code, licences, and production knowledge. Huawei would retain its right to use and alter its own technology as it sees fit.
Additionally, the buyer would have the right to modify the source code, demonstrating that neither Huawei nor the Chinese government could have any control over any infrastructure developed by the company using the portfolio. To underline this idea, the buyer would be able to block access to any products it created using the technology,
Ren did not mention how much Huawei would want a potential buyer to pay for this access, nor did he confirm whether the offer would be put to established companies active in the field of 5G network equipment, or to new businesses created specifically to avail themselves of the prospect. The only confirmed detail, according to The Economist, is that the offer would be made to a company based in “the West”.
Striking a seller agreement with a western firm makes sense for Huawei given the intensifying trade war between the US and China. Huawei in particular has come under scrutiny, with the US placing the vendor on a trade blacklist and calling on its allies to reject Huawei’s equipment for their 5G network buildouts.
The US has kept up the pressure, raising concerns that Huawei’s alleged ties to the Chinese military would be a national security issue, and opening an investigation into accusations of IP theft. Huawei has repeatedly denied the US claims, arguing that the fact that no security exploits can be found in its 5G equipment demonstrates that it cannot be abused by any government.