BEIJING: Chinese telecoms giant Huawei said Friday it had renewed a licensing agreement with Ericsson to use each other’s technologies, in a rebuff to US warnings about the risk of espionage by Beijing.
Huawei has been at the centre of an intense technological rivalry between China and the United States, which suspects the company of spying for Beijing – accusations Huawei denies.
US sanctions on Huawei since 2019 have cut off the firm from global supply chains for American components and hobbled its smartphone arm, forcing it to pivot towards other forms of growth.
Washington has also pressured its allies to ban the use of Huawei gear in their 5G telecoms networks, arguing that Beijing could use the equipment to spy on other countries’ communications and data traffic.
Despite those tensions, Huawei and Ericsson – based in Stockholm – have signed a “long-term” global agreement to licence each other’s patents, the Chinese company said in a statement Friday.
The deal covers patents essential to 3G, 4G and 5G cellular technologies as well as both companies’ “respective sales of network infrastructure and consumer devices”, Huawei said.
The company’s intellectual property chief, Alan Fan, said the agreement “demonstrates the commitment both parties have forged that intellectual property should be properly respected and protected”.
“Our commitment to sharing leading technological innovations will drive healthy, sustainable industry development and provide consumers with more robust products and services,” he said.
The previous such agreement between Huawei and Ericsson was signed in 2016.
Back then, Huawei was an insurgent force in the global technology sector with an eye on dethroning Apple and Samsung as the world’s top seller of smartphones.
It briefly grabbed that title in 2020 but US sanctions have since clipped its wings and forced Huawei into a strategic refocus on software, connected devices, business computing, smart vehicles and other sectors.
Despite being sidelined from American technologies, Huawei could begin producing its own chips for 5G phones this year, according to media reports about which the company has refused to comment.