Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei. Photo: handout

The world’s largest network equipment maker, which is now also going toe-to-toe with Apple and Samsung in a battle for the global smartphone market, has been under fire of late.

But China’s Huawei has thus far been undeterred by a US-led campaign to paint the company as an agent of the Communist Party of China, and has been having success taking back control of the narrative.

On Sunday, as Germany’s top telecommunications regulator was busy shrugging off US claims of Huawei risks, the Chinese firm’s chief executive officer struck a benevolent tone in an interview with CNBC, saying he was open to selling proprietary technology to competitor Apple.

“We are open to Apple in this regard,” Huawei CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei said regarding the potential of selling its new 5G-capable chip. Thus far, Huawei has indicated that the chip would only be for use on its own handsets.

Despite Apple’s legal quarrels with Qualcomm, which has also developed fifth-generation modem chips, the US company would most likely pass on Huawei’s alternative, if for no other reason because of the political backdrop.

But Ren’s comments are part of a big public relations push that has seen the previously low-profile executive speak with international media with unprecedented frequency.

Ren went out of his way to lavish praise on Apple, calling it a “great company,” extolling founder Steve Jobs.

“Mr Jobs was great not because he created Apple, but because he created an era, the mobile Internet era,” Ren said. “Saying that he was great is an understatement. I think he was super-great.

“When he passed away, I was on a vacation in the mountains with my family,” Ren said. “My younger daughter is a fan of Mr Jobs, so she proposed that we stop for a moment of silence to mourn him, and we did.”

Huawei says that it is poised to overtake Samsung as the world’s biggest-selling smartphone maker by the end of this year, after having leapfrogged Apple in terms of units sold.

Read more:

Huawei set to win smartphone sales race

Germany signals it could use Huawei 5G tech

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