back to article Huawei goes all Art of War on us: Switches on 'battle mode' and vows to 'dominate the world'

An internal memo to Huawei staff sent by boss Ren Zhengfei is long on military metaphors and warns that the company needs to go into "battle mode" to counter trade barriers put up by the United States. Ren said that although first-half results were pretty healthy, some of this was due to sympathetic early payments by some …


    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      "AFAIK China ain’t renowned for its AFVs either, what with mostly running cloned T-72s. Oh dear, maybe that’s why they need those ropes."

      In ww2 the German tanks were "superior" to the Russian, except they were to good so difficult to fix, were expensive and took a long time to make. The Russian tanks were cheap, easy to fix and easy to mass produce. Numbers won.

      The AK-47 is cheap, easy to make and easy to service. It's not accurate, it not highly engineered or pretty.

      You can have the best tank in the world, but if the other side have a hundred ok ones,your not going to win.

      1. JLV

        yeah but maybe you to try something more recent. more relevant to the actual PLA hardware?

        T-72s, all. entrenched, hull down. and regardless, running offshoots of a 48 yr old tank design ain’t nothing to brag about. These are gen 2 MBTs, they’d get chewed up by gen 3s like M1 Leopard 2 Challenger 2, there’s a massive difference in capability, most at the armor level.

        just saying.

        1. John Jennings

          In the iraq war the T-72s wer hulls from the 1970's - generation 2. The Iraqis used rounds from the 1960s.

          The optics could not see in the sandstorm. They had no FLIR and only a few laser rangefinders - mostly iron sights.

          The latest T-72 went into production in 2010 and is a different tank entirely. Modern optics, FLIR, modern gun, (more of a missile launcher now!) modern reactive armour. Its a 3rd gen tank. The chinese have copied these, and the result would likely be considerably different in a rematch....

          1. JLV

            Gen 2 tanks were before the advent of modern Chobham-style composite ceramic armor. This was on one swing of the offense-defense cycles and it was assumed a tank could not survive a real hit by shaped charges. Therefore, gen 2 were much lighter and weren’t as heavily armored, relying on speed to survive because armor couldn't fix it.

            With the Challenger 2 and the M1 the pendulum swung back to defense and gen 3 tanks gained weight again. I assume modern Russian tanks are also gen 3. Easting’s Iraqi T72 were also downgraded export models but I doubt you’d see much better PLA performance asides from their sensors. Keep in mind too: these were Iran-Iraq War veteran tankers, most likely.

            FWIW, I believe the only combat loss of an M1 to date has been a massive IED in Iraq.

            I mean, we can debate all we want but the PLA is still running a nearly 50 yr old design in a weapon field that that has seen major changes. Most of their conventional combat tech, right now, is iffy-ish or Russia-bought and combat experience is scarce. However, they can be extremely innovative too, for example the DF-21 which is a known unknown to US carrier groups. They wouldn’t be a pushover and they’ll push asymmetry for all it’s worth. This will only increase as time goes on and the US has been fighting essentially colonial brush wars for the last 20 years, not peers.

            Hopefully we’ll all find a way to get along and fix other problems rather than start on Cold War 2. But I still find Huawei’s studly tank metaphors funny, sorry.

            1. drewzilla79

              Explosively Formed Penetrator

              "FWIW, I believe the only combat loss of an M1 to date has been a massive IED in Iraq."

              Shaped charges made from composite explosive and usually copper. They were in Iraq and likely what you are thinking of. Pretty low tech to manufacture which made them all the more terrifying.

          2. JLV

            It's not even a new tank, it's a refurb of the T-72. So the base armor is the same and they've added better reactive armor, sensors, engine. Just because wikipedia says it's a Gen 3 doesn't mean it's so.


            Additionally, the newest PLA tank is the T-99 which came out in 99, so 11 years before your unrelated non-G3 puppy and it's a minority tank, not the most numerous model.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        In WW2 early German tanks were generally inferior to the Soviet ones considered individually, but the tactics, battle doctrine, and training (plus for a start the actual possession of working in-tank radios) meant that the German tanks swept the Soviets away despite a significant deficit in numbers. The Barbarossa armies were largely equipped with Panzer III & IV with a mixture of older designs.

        German tanks weren't that much harder to fix although the Panthers (conceptually superior) - was seriously handicapped by shortages of both materials but mostly machining capacity. They suffered serious transmission problems due to the late substitution of an excellent helical gear unit by a simplified spur-gear mechanism that could not handle the weight. The original design did not make the transmission easy to service as it was not considered a high-maintenance part.

        Also the Germans never developed the capacity to produce tanks at levels even close to the Soviet capacity and by 1943-44 were suffering shortages of materials like the products needed to form high quality armour steel. That is one reason (there were others of course) that the Germans consciously went for more capable tanks - hoping to offset numbers with individual capacity. Can work if the numbers aren't too disparate and does depend on your definition of "OK". One current model Abrams would fairly easily take down 100 T-34, even the late model ones provided it had enough ammunition available. Probably walk over 50 T62's as well.

        In the Yom Kippur war, around 170 Israeli tanks defeated over 1200 Syrian tanks despite the fact that the Syrians had night-fighting equipment and the Israeli's did not. The Tanks were of similar rated capability - Centurions versus T-55 and T-62.

        1. JLV

          Apparently also, the Germans could shoot the only radio-equipped Soviet tank, that being the platoon leader’s. Once that happened, the remaining tanks would not know what to do and lose initiative.

          But, yes German == super tanks is _quite_ the opposite of 41-42 reality against T34 and KV1.

          Robert Forczyk Tank Warfare Eastern Front 41-42 is a good read. Volume 2, 43-45, is less interesting because it’s essentially a foregone conclusion past Kursk. He also takes a whack at SS divisions, saying their upper rank staff were just not as good and the diversion of men and top-end equipment hurt German performance compared to equipping the regular Wehrmacht.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. IsJustabloke




            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Er....

              I'm sorry you didn't find it amusing or to the point. I've deleted it so you won't be annoyed by its presence.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's plenty accurate for most engagements as long as it's looked after and zero'd properly. Most of the issue with "innacuracy" is due to poorly trained shooters, or weapons that have fired a gajillion rounds and were last zero'd in the Korean war.

        I'm an average marksman at best, and had no issues with it.

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Bluetooth SIG - Remove that and the handset division is gone.

    Xilinx - Remove that and the carrier division is gone.

    Canyon Bridge tried to buy Lattice Semiconductors 3 years ago to springboard China into FPGAs, they failed, between Latice, Altera and Xilinx that's well over 90% of the market. All US companies. Others would take years to develop and scale and you're not having a radio unit without one, unless you want them completely fixed in configuration making deployment costs orders of magnitude more expensive.

    Huawei's talk is nonsense.

    1. Grikath

      Re: Seriously

      "Others would take years to develop and scale..."

      I'm getting the impression that this is simply not the case ( anymore), and that when the Orange Monkey™ pushes Huawei ( and thus the PRC) too hard, we'll find that the chinese are perfectly capable to flip the middle finger and whip something up in a couple of months.

      So far they've just been polite...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seriously

        Grikath - Dream on.

        China can't:

        Build jet engines after 30 years of trying

        Build advanced chip fabs - its all outsourced to Taiwan/South Korea/Japan

        Design advanced indigenous chips - the type used in the Sunway supercomputer isn't exactly powerful, they just use plenty:

        Summit (USA) 2,397,824 Cores, 200,794.9 Rpeak (TFlop/s)

        Sierra (USA) 1,572,480 Cores, 125,712.0 Rpeak (TFlop/s)

        Sunway TaihuLight 10,649,600 Cores, 125,435.9 (TFlop/s)

        More notably for mobile networks - FPGA design - nothing. Mobile processor design - ARM based. Indigenous standards capable of being released in the west (802.11x, Bluetooth etc) - Nil.

        Tell us how they will "whip something up" in a couple of months. Oh - and not break patents.

        1. Grikath

          Re: Seriously

          Jet engines: 10 seconds of googling shows that they seem to have picked up on that particular trick....

          Advanced chip fabs: So does the rest of the world, including the usual subjects with HQ's in the US... Besides, they don't need to re-invent the wheel, just place an order with ASML ( you might have heard of them...) or any other non-US based fabber manufacturer, and build a fancy building to house the machines while waiting for delivery...

          Supercomputers: So they use the old Soviet approach: Use Plenty, Get Results. El Reg used to report on linux clusters back in the day, same difference.

          Mobile: FPGA design: Gowin , and you'll find that for most electronics there's a PRC based manufacturer/developer. So, ummm.... yeah... And I could be mistaken, but aren't most, if not all mobile processors based on ARM?

          And international industry standards are exactly that... international. As the IEEE found out rapidly when they needed to do a rapid 180 a while back. With that issue showing that quite a lot of chinese boffins seem to be involved in the development of those standards. So "Nil" is definitely off the table in that respect.

          And as for patents... Besides the extremely ..liberal.. approach the chinese ( and most of Asia ) have always had towards IP... Yes, they can, and if the chinese are pushed hard enough, I expect they will Break the System. And maybe that'd even be a Good Thing. $Deity know that the whole set of patent systems, especially the US monstrosity needs a serious overhaul.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Seriously

            Plus, small point, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea...when the chips are really down, whose side are they going to be on? The King over the water or the king in their backyard?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Seriously

              I see we're back to amateur hour again here. The chips would have to be very down to sacrifice their alliances to go with a country that is at odds with everyone, even its own people, and represents the biggest control freak of a regime since oh, the Nazis.

              China has an avowed policy of "No Allies", just vassals and enemies.

              Now you ask yourself the same question and tell me what you think.

              1. Grikath

                Re: Seriously

                "a country that is at odds with everyone, even its own people, and represents the biggest control freak of a regime since oh, the Nazis."

                Dear AC. I like the Irony in your statement...

          2. Julian Garrett

            Re: Seriously

            Huawei is ANYTHING BUT liberal when it comes to its own IP. I have worked for them several times and the restrictions they place around their own info as fairly extreme.

          3. AZ457TE834NE92WR456

            Re: Seriously

            Sorry, just reading this now - FPGA tech goes in cell towers not phones, and what the guys says is true - outside the USA there is nothing. China has no experience in this area. Remove that and the carrier division, at least the part that builds base stations, is kneecapped immediately.

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Seriously

      You are correct about the FPGAs but at the same time one might expect the Chinese to be aware of the potential problem and have taken some measure of precaution. This also cuts both ways -- sure, you can tell Xilinx that they can't sell chips to Hwawei any more but then that's 11 billion dollars' worth of business you've just taken from Xilinx. (I daresay Uncle Sam could just print up some extra dollars to cover it like they did for the farmers.)

      Bluetooth, I'm not so sure about, its not an American technology. There are already signs that the 'rest of the world' -- that's outside the US, UK and Israel -- are getting fed up with the antics of the US government. After all, should they become too successful they could become the next Huawei.

      Huawei is not talking nonsense. They are in a backs to the wall situation but its both a question of survival and of national pride for them so they have no alternative but to win, regardless of what it takes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seriously

        Bluetooth SIG is based in Washington and is ostensibly now an American technology. Yes it was started by Ericsson, yes it was developed in Europe, but it has long since moved to the US. I think it would be very hard to argue it is not a US based technology, much of the development work is handled within the US - the restrictions to Huawei being on anything that has "more than 25% US design or componentry" IIRC.

        Re Xilinx - 5G is not going to go away. You now have Samsung, Altiostar, Fujitsu all starting to produce 5G carrier equipment. The Samsung equipment is even quite good. ALL manufacturers of 5G base station radio units use FPGAs and the overall demand is not going away. It would be a couple of extremely rough quarters for them but I doubt it would break them. If things start going pear shaped they could just use the Chinese trick of having a blank cheque made out to them to cover costs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Seriously

          Ok, better than the usual troll farm stuff but still not going over.

          Could it be that, no matter how good the bull shit sounds, it just doesn't work on these pages?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Seriously

          Down voting responses is not any form of rebuttal.

          The simple fact is that the US could kill Huawei stone cold dead in a matter of days if they turn off the tap to their tech, and there is nothing Huawei can do about it.

          Tell me how youd continue to build handsets without access to Bluetooth. With no Google apps. With many US app developers not prepared to port their apps due to embargoes.

          Tell me how you build base stations without digital signal processing capabilities where the tech and the components are of US origin.

          Say you want to ignore patents. You still have a couple of years lead time before you even have rudimentary designs done. Huawei has none of these. Then let's say they do. Try selling them outside of China. No one will buy, and it will be an endless series of injunctions and legal pursuits.

          You guys need to face reality here.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Seriously

            One of the realities you need to face is that ACs making contentious statements (with of course no posting history) who then complain about being downvoted are not exactly endearing themselves. (I gather that at last /. is experimenting with getting rid of AC posts.)

            Even our resident Bombastic Bob occasionally writes good sense, which makes people more tolerant of his periodic rants.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Seriously

              One thing that should never be relied upon here is the number of votes, regardless of which way they swing. I seldom comment here as there is a lot of what you expect to see - fan boys and whines. And agendas. This is no better than a click mill at times - entry is free and its a very easy way to influence opinion at no cost and no comeback. When you have organisations like foreighn governments who have particularly involved influence campaigns this is the lowest hanging fruit - why wouldn't you?

              When you start seeing the same thing on the FT as well - say something pro China and you instantly get 50 recommends, say something anti and you have the army descend on you with breathless insults and a willful misrepresentation of the facts - you know something is not right. That's £27 a month times however many people they need to turn the forums there into a fuckfest. That isn't cheap.

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trump blinked?

    The "Trump blinked" linked article implies he extended the suspension of the ban. This article implies he extended the ban itself.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Trump blinked?

      The 'blinked' bit is that the extra 10% tariff on everything that was planned for September 1st has been pushed back till Christmas, ostensibly to spare US shoppers the extra expense this Christmas season. (No, I'm not joking).

      The 'extension' bit is that a large number of other Chinese companies have been added to the US's "Entity List".

      The weird bit is that strictly speaking Trump doesn't have the power to impose tariffs and the like except if its a national emergency. He's pretty much said out loud that its not a national emergency so he should have been challenged by Congress or in the courts about this. I figure this is partly because there are plenty of people in Congress on both sides of the aisle that are into this new Cold War and because Democratic strategists see the potential for hubris and overreach.

      From a personal perspective I see the potential for serious damage to the economy and with it my retirement savings.

  3. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    Unintended consequences...

    He's ushering in a third mass market phone OS with significant market share

    1. JLV

      Re: Unintended consequences...

      Too early to say. One thing that comes to mind is that the “old” wisdom that the mobile OS doesn’t matter, only the app ecosystem, may look _somewhat_ different in a Chinese context. With their size, foreign content firewalling, different writing system and all sorts of home-grown apps and requirements (not least govt-mandated snooping). So there might be more of an opportunity/patience to grow that locally.

  4. Joe Harrison

    Game of Tanks

    Sorry to interrupt but back on the subject of Huawei, why such a downer on them? Where did it come from? My guess is that they got caught backdooring their stuff, which is fine as everyone does it, but crucially failing to share the backdoors with the USA.

    1. JetSetJim

      Re: Game of Tanks

      Why the downer? They are beating US business at the tech game - they've outmanouevered several large US companies (e.g. Motorola, who now barely exists) in achieving this. Nuff said. There are hints of backdoors being provided to Chinese authorities, but nothing particularly concrete (as opposed to those found in Cisco kit). Also, they've played a bit fast & loose with the rules around copyright & patent protection (at least in the past).

      I suspect the main thing is that they are becoming a big player in network infrastructure, and they are not in a Special Relationship (TM) with the US.

      1. Trollslayer
        Thumb Up

        Re: Game of Tanks




    2. Gordon 10

      Re: Game of Tanks

      I think its less whether a backdoor exists, and more that the western Three Letter Agencies (TLA's) have been told to go take a running jump when they hinted they would like one.

  5. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    Fart of War?

  6. jelabarre59

    one possible benefit

    There could be one possible benefit of the US cutting off Huawei's access to Android; they might have to make a fork of it that doesn't contain all that Google suckage.

  7. Mahhn

    Short memories

    Maybe some missed the news that Huawei helped out political opponents in multiple countries, resulting in the murder of several candidates.

    But ohh look there's trumpf, lets go call him names and pretend Huawei isn't putting spyware in all their phones for China's government (not like they can say no).

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Short memories

      Maybe some missed the news that Huawei helped out political opponents in multiple countries, resulting in the murder of several candidates.

      But ohh look there's trumpf, lets go call him names and pretend Huawei isn't putting spyware in all their phones for China's government (not like they can say no). .... Mahhn

      It is proving itself extremely effective and even quite disconcerting at times, Mahhn.

      Is a Program of Interest for Private Pirate Assistance ...... Divine Heavenly Intervention? :-)

      And the only acceptable answer there is most definitely a resounding yes.

  8. Tail Up

    It was fun finding comments starting with Huawei and finishing the 1st page at Kursk tank battle.

    1. Trollslayer

      One of the reasons I love El Reg!

  9. HmYiss

    Tanks for the memories...

    ..and the SoCs.. ...and the modems.. and the voltage regulators.. ..and those little flappy fiddly bits that always break.. and the...

    I'll get my coat.


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