US will allow some companies to deal with Huawei “very shortly”

In a nutshell: It appears that things are finally looking up for Huawei. Despite being added to an export blacklist that stops it doing business with US firms back in May, the company experienced strong sales growth last month. Now, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has said the ban would be eased “very shortly.”

In an interview with Bloomberg, Ross said there had been 260 requests for companies to do business with Huawei. “That’s a lot of applications — it’s frankly more than we would’ve thought,” he added.

Ross did say that not every company will be allowed to sell components to Huawei, and it would be best for them to assume they won’t be granted a license, but he stressed that the US expects to approve “quite a few” requests.

Dozens of Chinese companies are on the same entity list as Huawei, with 28 more added last month. These included AI firm SenseTime Group Ltd and surveillance tech manufacturers Hikvision and Dahua Technology.

Ross’ words will be welcome news for Huawei. Despite increasing revenue 24.4 percent during the last three quarters of the fiscal year and seeing an increase in smartphone shipments, its chairman, Liang Hua, warned that not being able to offer Google’s suite of apps and services in its new phones may affect short term growth.

The US did grant temporary licenses that allow US companies to deal with Huawei for the purpose of providing “service and support, including software updates or patches, to existing Huawei handsets that were available to the public on or before May 16, 2019,” but they expire at the end of this month.

US companies have warned that the ban could harm them more than Huawei. The Chinese giant spent $70 billion on purchasing components in 2018, $11 billion of which went to American firms.

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