Huawei and the U.S.-China Trade War
In 2019, Chinese smartphone maker and telecommunications empire Huawei was preparing to launch its new flagship smartphone series, the Mate 30. After years of explosive growth, the previous 18 months had been a challenge for the company. In early 2018, Huawei's planned smartphone launch in the U.S. had failed due to pressure from regulators who cited concerns about the company facilitating Chinese spying. Over the following months, a trade war between the U.S. and China had broken out, with Huawei at its epicenter. By mid-2019, after months of U.S. pressure and restrictions, Huawei found its supply chain for computer parts and software under siege and several governments around the world threatened to ban its 5G network equipment from their countries. In this unpredictable climate, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei and his management team had to figure out not only how to successfully launch Mate 30 phones in the upcoming fall, but how to ensure the company's long term viability.