Huawei is one of the biggest mysteries in the wireless industry right now.
It’s the world’s No. 1 telecom supplier and No. 2 smartphone maker. Yet it’s a pariah in several countries, including the US, to the point that the FBI reportedly set up a sting at CES 2019.
The Chinese telecom giant may have run into its biggest trouble yet in late January when the US Justice Department unsealed indictments that included 23 counts pertaining to the theft of intellectual property, obstruction of justice and fraud related to its alleged evasion of US sanctions against Iran.
But the core issue with Huawei has been concerns over its coziness with the Chinese government and fears that its equipment could be used to spy on other countries and companies. It’s the reason why the US banned companies from using Huawei networking equipment in 2012.
Over the last few months, there has been an upswing of scrutiny on Huawei, with a number of countries banning the use of its networking equipment. That’s why its smartphones are virtually invisible in the US despite its massive presence around the world.
Huawei, for its part, has long denied any wrongdoing and continues to maintain its innocence through the recent charges.
It can be tough to keep pace with the sheer number of headlines, so let’s put what’s happened over the past year in a handy timeline.
Jan. 9, 2018: At the Consumer Electronics Show, Huawei CEO Richard Yu addresses the loss of AT&T support.
Feb. 13, 2018: FBI Director Chris Wray warns against buying Huawei and ZTE phones.
March 22, 2018: Huawei loses Best Buy as retail partner.
May 2, 2018: The Pentagon bans the sale of Huawei and ZTE phones on US military bases.
June 6, 2018: A report reveals that Facebook gave Huawei special access to user data.
June 7, 2018: Congress calls out Google over its ties with Huawei.
July 11, 2018: Australia says it’ll ban Huawei from 5G rollout amid security concerns.
July 19, 2018: Huawei crosses 100 million shipments mark for the year to date.
Aug. 1, 2018: Knocking off Apple, Huawei becomes the No. 2 phone seller.
Sept. 5, 2018: In a Senate hearing on Facebook and Twitter, Huawei and ZTE get called out.
Sept. 7, 2018: Huawei gets caught cheating on a phone benchmark test.
Oct. 18, 2018: Huawei tussles with US startup CNEX Labs over theft of technology.
Dec. 5, 2018: Britain’s BT says it’ll strip Huawei equipment from 4G network by 2021 and won’t use it in 5G core.
Dec. 6, 2018: Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is arrested in Canada at the request of the US.
Dec. 7, 2018: Reuters reports that Japan will stop buying Huawei, ZTE equipment.
Dec. 12, 2018: A Canadian court grants Huawei’s CFO $10 million bail.
Dec. 24, 2018: Huawei exceeds 200 million smartphone shipments.
Jan. 3, 2019: A report suggests that President Trump may use an executive order to ban Huawei and ZTE purchases.
Jan. 4, 2019: Senators introduce a bipartisan bill to address concerns about Chinese tech companies.
Jan. 8, 2019: Huawei fights to stay in the US with laptops and tablets at CES.
Jan. 11, 2019: In Poland, a Huawei employee gets arrested over alleged spying.
Jan. 14, 2019: Huawei sacks that arrested employee.
The charges unsealed today clearly allege that Huawei intentionally conspired to steal the intellectual property of an American company.FBI Director Christopher Wray, Jan. 29, 2019
Jan. 18, 2019: China says a Canadian ban on Huawei’s 5G tech will trigger “repercussions.”
Jan. 23, 2019: Huawei’s CFO may face formal extradition to the US, says report.
Jan. 24, 2019: Huawei reportedly says it’ll take smartphone crown from Samsung by 2020.
Jan. 25, 2019: Colleges reportedly drop Huawei equipment to appease the Trump administration. Also, Huawei says it’ll reveal a foldable phone with 5G in February.
Jan. 29, 2019: US hammers Huawei with 23 indictments for alleged trade secret theft and fraud.
Jan. 30, 2019: Qualcomm reaches an interim licensing agreement with Huawei.
Feb. 1, 2019: Huawei illuminates its foldable phone in a MWC 2019 teaser photo.
Feb. 4, 2019: Report says FBI raided Huawei lab and set up a CES sting. Also, two of the company’s staff were expelled from Denmark after work permit inspection.
Feb. 6, 2019: US State Department discourages European countries from using Huawei equipment in their 5G rollouts.
Feb. 17, 2019: UK reportedly concludes using Huawei in 5G is a manageable risk.
Feb. 19, 2019: Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei tells the BBC “there’s no way the US can crush us.”
Feb. 20-21, 2019: Ren says that the arrest of his daughter, the company’s CFO, was “politically motivated and that the US treats 5G like “military” tech.
Feb. 21, 2019: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says countries using Huawei tech pose a risk to the US.
Feb. 22, 2019: Italian politicians reportedly push for Huawei 5G ban.
Feb. 24, 2019: Huawei unveils Mate X foldable phone.
Feb. 25, 2019: Huawei could face solar tech ban in the US.
Feb. 26, 2019: Samsung and Huawei settle two-year-old patent dispute.
Feb. 28, 2019: Chinese kids literally sing Huawei’s praises in surreal video.
March 1, 2019: Extradition hearing for Huawei CFO gets the go-ahead from Canada, and US warns Philippines against using Huawei 5G gear.
March 5, 2019: Huawei reportedly calls for international cybersecurity standards
March 8, 2019: Huawei sues US government over equipment ban.
March 12, 2019: US reportedly tells Germany to drop Huawei or it’ll limit intel sharing. The Huawei Mate 20 hits 10 million shipped.
March 14, 2019: Huawei is developing its own OS in case it can’t use Android or Windows, report says.
March 15, 2019: Huawei CFO wanted to quit before arrest, according to company’s founder.
March 19, 2019: Angela Merkel pushes back against US pressure to bar Huawei from Germany’s 5G rollout.
March 26, 2019: Huawei launches P30 and P30 Pro in Paris.
March 28, 2019: British watchdog warns that Huawei products represent “significantly increased risk.”
March 29, 2019: Huawei slams US for having “a loser’s attitude” because its tech can’t compete