Sat, Apr 21, 2018 - Page 10 News List

China’s ZTE promises to fight US supplier ban

AFP, BEIJING

Chinese telecom giant ZTE Corp (中興) vowed yesterday to fight back against a US order banning it from purchasing and using US technology for seven years, a move that has angered Beijing.

The decision announced by Washington this week has clouded prospects for the telecom and phone maker, which depends on US technology, such as chips and the Android operating system, for its mobile phones.

The order “seriously endangers the survival of ZTE,” the company said in a statement, adding: “We cannot accept it.”

ZTE would “not give up its efforts to resolve the problems through communication and dialogue, but would also resolutely protect its legitimate rights and interests through all legally permitted methods,” the firm said.

ZTE has one or two months of stored component supplies before the ban starts to affect its business, China International Capital Corp (CICC, 中國國際金融) said in a research report.

ZTE has halted trading of its shares in Hong Kong and Shenzhen since Tuesday.

Washington’s control of the company’s fate, with about 80,000 employees, has stirred ire and angst in China, where officials prize stability.

The options left at the company’s disposal are unclear. When introducing the export ban in Washington, a US Department of Commerce official said there was no “off-ramp” for the company to seek a reversal of the blockade.

The export ban followed a five-year US government probe into ZTE’s evasion of sanctions on Iran and North Korea, first revealed in March 2016. The company pleaded guilty in March last year to unlawful exports and was hit with US$1.2 billion in fines.

However, Washington on Monday said ZTE had failed to follow through on pledges to punish the staff responsible.

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