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We can survive attacks by the US, Huawei boss Ren Zhengfei tells Davos

We can survive attacks by the US, Huawei boss Ren Zhengfei tells Davos
Huawei boss Ren Zhengfei attends a session at the Congress centre during the World Economic Forum

The founder of Huawei has said the telecoms giant can survive further attacks from the US in a speech throwing down the gauntlet at the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland.

Responding to the US's campaign against Huawei, Ren Zhengfei said: "The US is concerned. It is used to being the world number one and if someone is better than them, they may not feel comfortable."

Asked what were the consequences of the current tech arms race, Mr Zhengfei said: "Huawei used to be an admirer of the US.

"I think the US should not be over concerned about Huawei and Huawei's position in the world," he added.

"Huawei was added to the [sanction] list last year and it didn't hurt us much.

"This year the US might further escalate their campaign against Huawei but I feel the impact against Huawei business will not be very significant.

"We are more confident that we can survive further attacks."

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has come under pressure from President Donald Trump to impose an outright ban on Huawei in supplying parts for the UK's 5G rollout. Last week a delegation of senior US officials were sent to London to ask Mr Johnson to to block Huawei, before proceeding to brief journalists about an alleged dossier of evidence against the firm.

The UK Government is reportedly set to decide by the end of this month whether to allow Huawei's involvement in 5G.

Mr Zhengfei urged society to "embrace" technology, as he warned not to "over-exaggerate" fears around Artificial Intelligence.

"We should see that technology is for good," Mr Zhengfei said. "Human history has gone through a long period of time and over the last 1,000 years technology advancement was in sync with human evolution."

He said that from steam ships to textiles people had concerns but with the "development of the industrial society those fears disappeared".

"Humanity will be able to use new technology to embrace society not destroy it," he said.

Mr Zhengfei added that as a child the atomic bomb was the biggest threat to life.

"When I was born that was the time when the atom bomb exploded in Japan. I was six or seven and the biggest fear people had was around atom bombs."

He added that there were "enormous benefits from the atomic explosion" and said that today there are fears of AI, "but we should not over exaggerate".

"AI is not as damaging as atomic bomb," he said.

"At Huawei our research is weak AI. There are boundaries and constraints."

President Trump is also due to speak at Davos today.

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