A Huawei representative has suggested that the company will ignore Google's apps and services - even if the US trade ban is lifted. If true, it's a shocker.
The suggestion comes from Fred Wangfei, Huawei's chief in Austria. We've been under the impression that Huawei would be desperate to return to Google and indeed, that's the theme of the statement Huawei emailed us after this story broke:
A Huawei spokesperson said: "An open Android ecosystem is still our first choice, but if we are not able to continue to use it, we have the ability to develop our own."
So that raises the question - why did Wangfei say that Huawei wouldn't go back to using an official Google-sanctioned version of Android even if it could?
It's certainly true that Huawei wants to further its own Huawei Mobile Services solution, but the Wangfei quote is also in contrast to the quote given to Pocket-lint at the Mate 30 launch by Huawei CEO Richard Yu.
When asked about how long it might take Play Store apps appearing on the handset if a ban was lifted, Yu replied instantly "Over one night. We can do that immediately."
In October, Yu was also clear that Huawei has been a big partner to Google, to demonstrate the folly of the ban. "In past years, we have [made] a big contribution to the Android ecosystem, leading innovation. We were first to bring gesture operation to Android. To be honest it’s not reasonable [for there to be a ban]."
Usually such remarkable quotes are simply lost in translation but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Wangfei was originally quoted by DerStandard whose correspondent Andreas Proschofsky commented on Twitter:
Just as a note for others who read this. There was no wiggle room in what Huawei told me, I asked them several times (as I was rather surprised myself) and they insisted on not going back to Google - even if the US ban falls.— Andreas Proschofsky (@suka_hiroaki) January 30, 2020
Translated by Google, Proschofsky's article says that the "topic of the event was the long-term strategy of the Chinese hardware manufacturer, and after being somewhat closed in the previous year, this time they gave a rather detailed insight into the further plans. And one thing is clear: there is no going back to Google."
The news would have drastically hurt Huawei's chances of selling phones in Europe if true - and could have spelt disaster for the upcoming P40 and P40 Pro launch.