“Hey Donald, here’s an idea. I’ll sell the farm”

via Flickr © Ian Muttoo (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via Flickr © Ian Muttoo (CC BY-SA 2.0)

  • Huawei boss suggests splitting off a digital twin
  • Buyer gets “perpetual access” to Huawei tech
  • Everyone lives happily ever after 

A surprise entry in the Huawei v. Trump kerfuffle: Huawei CEO, Ren Zhengfei, has told The Economist that he could be up for an innovative commercial arrangement designed to neutralise accusations that Huawei was actively planting spying technology in the West’s telecoms infrastructure.

Zhengfei allegedly proposed that he could sell a big western tech company what amounted to a digital twin of Huawei’s 5G  effort for a ‘one off fee’. The buyer could get “perpetual access to Huawei’s existing 5G patents, licences, code, technical blueprints and production know-how,” said Ren, and could even develop the source code in any direction it liked. 

The key advantage was that Huawei and the Chinese government would be out of the loop and demonstrably have no chance to meddle or cut back doors into the underlying 5G networks to which the technology was attached. The digital twin version of Huawei's technology could then be sold to the US and the countries it has currently bullied out of taking Huawei gear.

Distraction or cunning plan?

Could be either, could be a bit of both, could be another way of applying pressure on Trump. Or it could be a serious suggestion. 

In past pronouncements, even before Mad Uncle Donald hoved into view, Huawei has tended to wax lyrical about the overall value of 'open' technology and sharing generally. Call me naive, but this always appeared to me to be a genuinely deeply held view at the top as well as being deployed as conventional corporate blather. It can be both. 

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