And that hope is U.S. President Donald Trump
ZTE has had a rough year. The phone maker has made US headlines time after time, and none of those stories were positive. It wasn’t a case of a phone being released, or having great sales. Instead it’s been a case of issues with the government of the United States.
First U.S. security officials identified ZTE and Huawei as threats to US privacy and security. Devices made by these manufacturers were excluded from any government use, and the American public was advised against using them. Next, the devices were banned from even being sold in U.S. military commissary stores.
But even prior to this, the Chinese phonemaker was found to be selling product to Iran that had U.S. components. This of course is a violation of U.S. trade restrictions with Iran. If the company wished to continue doing business with U.S. companies, it would be fined, and those responsible for the Iran trade would be required to be removed. Half the job was done, by agreeing to the fine, yet maintaining the employment of those responsible. This resulted most recently in a 7 year ban of U.S. companies doing business with ZTE.
With much of the company’s products utilizing American chipsets, and Google’s Android, this left the phonemaker in quite a bind. A bind which there was apparently no fix for, and ZTE announced that their business would come to a halt. And that seemed to be the end of ZTE. Until this morning.
This morning, President Donald Trump tweeted out a short message about ZTE.
President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2018
As China and the U.S. continue their trade dance, shutting down a company like ZTE could have detrimental effects for ongoing trade negotiations. Presenting an olive branch to save the company, could also see some positive affects on those negotiations. I am very interested to see how this plays out in the end. The fate of ZTE could have many effects on both economic and security policies for tech in the U.S. market.