Lenovo rebuts rumor it failed to back Huawei on 5G issues
Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group issued an internal letter on Wednesday rebutting the market rumor that it failed to back Chinese telecom company Huawei in setting global standards for the fifth generation mobile communications technology.
The move came amid intensified competition among countries for a bigger say in developing 5G service. The first version of standards is expected to come out next month, laying a foundation for global companies to begin building large-scale 5G networks.
Lenovo founder Liu Chuanzhi said in the letter the company backed tech giant Huawei’s proposals for 5G standards in the final round of voting. “Chinese businesses should unite and brush aside attempts to sow discord,” Liu added.
His comments came amid the market rumor that Lenovo voted in favor of the United States tech company Qualcomm against Huawei regarding a key technology standard for 5G. The new, superfast technology will allow consumers to download an 8-gigabit movie in seconds and have access to services like autonomous cars and remote surgery.
Industry analysts say the dispute highlights how important it is to gain greater say in finalizing 5G standards, as economies scramble for a beachhead.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China’s top industry regulator, and the Stateowned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission launched a guideline to accelerate steps to promote 5G and its application in industries.
“This year, China will promote key telecom programs, including finishing third-phase tests on 5G,” the guideline said.
“The more technical proposals for 5G recognized by the global tech community, the faster a country can build a large-scale network for the superfast technology,” said Xiang Ligang, a telecom expert and CEO of the telecom industry website Cctime.
The formulation of global 5G standards depends largely on competition among China, the US and Europe, he said. As domestic companies like Huawei and China Mobile evolve into pioneers in the telecom arena, China is likely to play a more significant role.
The Chinese government attaches high importance to 5G, which will also spark a faster rollout, Xiang added.
The country has already had a string of achievements in 5G. Last year, China Mobile outgunned foreign rivals to lead the global 5G System Architecture project, which will determine 5G networks’ structure.
The nation also established the world’s largest 5G test field in Beijing’s Huairou district, where domestic firms and a string of foreign tech companies are participating in China’s third phase of 5G tests.
China lagged behind other countries in building 4G and 3G networks. But with 5G, it is racing ahead in research and development, as well as trial applications, said Wang Zhiqin, vice-president of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.
The country is likely to issue 5G licenses to telecom carriers in the second half of next year at the earliest and will be among the first to issue 5G licenses in the world, she said.
The market size of China’s 5G industry is expected to reach 1.15 trillion yuan ($180.6 billion) by 2026, 50 percent higher than its 4G market, according to CCID Consulting.
ON WEDNESDAY, Lenovo published an open letter addressed to its employees calling on them “to win the battle for Lenovo’s honor”. Beijing News comments:
The letter came because the company has been heavily criticized on social media because two years ago, 3GPP, the telecommunications industry authority, organized a vote on the 5G standards and Lenovo voted for Qualcomm’s proposal instead of Huawei’s in the first round of voting.
As the letter pointed out, these were purely technical discussions. And while it initially voted in line with the technology and patent reserves it already had, in the second round it voted in consideration of the overall development of the industry in China.
Huawei itself has issued a statement, saying that at the 2016 conference, Lenovo and its Motorola mobile voted in favor of Huawei’s proposal in the second round of voting.
But because Lenovo initially voted in favor of a technical scheme that was dominated by Qualcomm, it is now being accused of being a traitor to the country.
Yet it is normal for enterprises in different countries to get together to determine the technical standards for industry through discussions. It shows that, like international trade, this matter is essentially of mutual benefit. The difference is only, who wins more, who wins less.
That is also the case for 5G technology. The competition among different proposals is therefore natural and companies will tend to promote the ones they think will benefit them the most.
Although Lenovo has every right to resort to legal means to defend its reputation, in this age of globalization, the interests of enterprises of different countries are intertwined. And at a time when a growing number of Chinese enterprises are multinationals, domestic public opinion should be more rational, and respect the principle of cooperation for mutual benefits.