The US government has tightened its restrictions on doing business with Chinese telecommunications equipment supplier Huawei.
The US had already effectively banned American companies from providing a platform for Huawei, which led to the company being unable to put its products and services on the Android operating system used by the majority of smartphones around the world.
Although Android is an open-source operating system, Google, Samsung and many others have developed their own versions for their smartphones based on the original code and, therefore, can call it their own and prevent others connecting to it or using it.
Huawei itself is huge supplier of smartphones as well as 5G telecommunications infrastructure, and the US is putting pressure on the company and anyone who works with it.
In the latest move, the Department of State has expanded its “Clean Network” program to prevent Huawei from making its own platform popular. Huawei is in the process of developing its own operating system and app store. Now, with the new “Clean Apps” measure introduced by the US State Department, Huawei may struggle to find enough developers and partners.
In a statement, the US State Department says it wants to “prevent untrusted PRC smartphone manufacturers from pre-installing –or otherwise making available for download – trusted apps on their apps store”.
By “PRC” it means People’s Republic of China, its claim being that Huawei is basically part of the Chinese government, which Huawei denies, saying it is a private-sector company run along commercial lines.
Nonetheless, the US State Department goes on to say: “Huawei, an arm of the PRC surveillance state, is trading on the innovations and reputations of leading US and foreign companies.
“These companies should remove their apps from Huawei’s app store to ensure they are not partnering with a human rights abuser.”
Although Huawei has not directly responded to the latest measures, it has in the past said that the US market is not its most important because it was a relatively new entrant to it.
However, it has strongly emphasized its status as market-oriented company that is not part of the Chinese government. It also says its work is regulated by all the relevant authorities in each government it operates in.