Ren Zhengfei, the billionaire founder of Huawei Technologies Co. whose daughter’s arrest in Vancouver triggered a diplomatic crisis between China and Canada, said the company still wants to make the country its “global center for theoretical research,” according to an interview with the Globe and Mail.
Huawei’s plans to further invest in Canada — including buying land from Montreal to Vancouver to build research centers — are unchanged, though they’ve slowed, the chief executive officer said.
Still, Ren criticized Canada for not resisting the U.S. extradition request for his daughter, Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, and urged the country’s justice minister to free her, according to the Globe.
He suggested that he might advocate for the release of two Canadians — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor — who were jailed in China days after Meng’s arrest in December, the Toronto-based newspaper reported.
Asked about a Bloomberg News report this week that Huawei employees have collaborated on research projects with Chinese armed forces personnel, Ren said this is not allowed. Only one employee cited still works there, in an entry-level position, he told the Globe.
“Huawei was not aware of the behavior of these several individuals in their individual capacity. We have no idea why they did this,” he was quoted as saying, accusing them of wanting to “hog the limelight.”