Huawei slashed its top US staff, caving to roadblocks introduced by US government officials which all but eliminated the Chinese vendor’s chances of success in the market.
The New York Times (NYT) reported the company dropped five of its US employees last week. Among them was William Plummer, who spearheaded Huawei’s campaign to charm Washington lawmakers over the past several years. A Huawei representative told NYT the staffing changes were part of broader moves to match “business strategy and objectives” with company resources.
Huawei also pulled back on money spent lobbying, decreasing its expenditures from $1.2 million in 2012, to $384,500 in 2016 and $60,000 in 2017.
The retreat comes as Huawei’s prospects for growth in the region continue to dim amid increased tensions between the US and China.
Government officials this year resurfaced security concerns related to Chinese telecommunications vendors which were originally aired in 2012, warning operators not to use their equipment. In January, a bill was introduced in Congress which would prevent US operators from using Huawei’s products. The company is also a likely target of a new rule under consideration at the Federal Communications Commission which would bar US operators from using federal funds to buy network equipment from companies deemed national security threats.
Political pressure was also applied to operators and retailers, urging them away from handset partnerships with Huawei. AT&T scrapped plans to carry the company’s flagship Mate 10 Pro device, while Verizon similarly backed away from a potential agreement. Best Buy, one of the few retailers where US consumers could purchase Huawei products, reportedly decided to drop the vendor’s products from its line up.
After years of attempting to batter down the doors blocking its entrance, it seems Huawei may finally be ready to give up on the US.
During Huawei’s annual analyst summit this week in Shenzhen, the company’s deputy chairman Eric Xu said: “With some things, when you let them go, you actually feel more at ease.”