German companies license China’s Huawei smart technologies even as the US looks to isolate the tech giant
Today, many in the West viewed the rise of China as a threat to the US hegemony and dominance as a global power. Others also see Chinese companies as linked to the Chinese government’s power and its techno-authoritarianism government. For decades, the western media has characterized China as a copycat country with no original technology of its own.
But that may be further from the truth. The fact is that China is more advanced than the U.S. in many areas. For example, hypersonic missile technology is an area in which the US government has now admitted that China is ahead. Other areas include 5G technology, payments, and mobile apps. In 2019, for example, Facebook was caught copying popular China’s WeChat app. But that’s a topic for another day.
In 2014, China rose to prominence as the second-largest biggest economy in the world, after the United States. Since then, China has been in the crosshairs of the United States. Three years earlier, the US government banned China from the International Space Station (ISS). The US Congress even passed a law prohibiting American contact with Chinese space officials. Then in November of last year, China launched astronauts to its newly completed space station. No matter what was thrown at it, China is now unstoppable.
Which leads to China’s Huawei! Citing “an unacceptable risk” to US national security, the United States placed Huawei on an export blacklist in 2019 banning the company from buying components and technology from U.S. companies without U.S. government approval. Then in 2021, the US government also targeted Huawei over its alleged espionage and ties to the Chinese Communist government, claiming that Huawei’s 5G wireless equipment poses a security risk. The decision led to Huawei losing a large share of the 5G market. But things are changing as European companies started to license Huawei smart car technologies in their automobiles.
Late last year, Huawei revealed that it has significantly improved its smart car business unit and its smart car technologies have now been licensed to major German automakers including Mercedes Benz, Audi, BMW, Porsche, and more. That’s not all.
Another report from NikkeiAsia also confirms that the patent licensing agreements with Huawei and German automakers were reached during the second half of 2022. “This will result that the licensed Huawei smart car technologies in 15 million out of 70 million cars produced globally each year,” the company said.
German automakers are not the only companies lining up to leverage Huawei’s technologies, Huawei said it has also signed deals with Japan’s Subaru, France’s Renault, Lamborghini, and Bentley.
The latest revelation comes after Huawei signed a multi-year cross-licensing agreement with leading industry players and rivals in the tech industry including Samsung, Oppo, Nokia, and more.
Public Patents Angle
Is Huawei violating US sanctions? In the face of the U.S. sanctions, the company continues to make a massive profit using its patent and R&D capabilities and invests the proceeds back for more research. According to a post on its website, Huawei said the patent licensing agreements, “allow it to not only deal with home grounds but also with foreign players for a better revenue option.”
“Patents are public and are not [subject] to export controls. … We also have dealings with American companies on cross-licensing deals, and [export controls] are not a factor at all,” Alan Fan, Huawei’s global head of the Intellectual property Department said.
Alan also added Huawei has signed over 20 new or extended patent license agreements in 2022. “These covers technologies for smartphones, smart vehicles, networks, and the internet of things,” he said.