As recently as four months ago, Huawei officials expressed confidence about finally establishing a foothold in the lucrative U.S. wireless market.
But in the wake of yet another regulatory setback, it appears the Chinese electronics and telecom equipment giant is ready to cut its losses.
The New York Times reports that the company laid off five U.S.-based employees, including William Plummer, a former Nokia official who led Huawei’s interactions with the federal government as VP of external relations.
The company’s lobbying efforts, meanwhile, dropped from $1.2 million in 2012 to just $60,000 last year.
Despite its overtures to Washington, federal officials consistently lined up against Huawei over its ties to the Chinese government.
A 2012 congressional report originally highlighted lawmakers’ concerns about the national security implications of Chinese telecom giants, and pressure from U.S. officials earlier this year prompted AT&T and Verizon to walk away from agreements to carry Huawei’s smartphones.
The latest blow occurred this week when the Federal Communications Commission began crafting a rule that would ban companies deemed national security risks from access to the $8.5 billion Universal Service Fund.
Huawei had made some inroads in the U.S. by striking equipment agreements with the smaller carriers likely to receive USF aid, but the Times noted the FCC proposal “could effectively kill off” those deals.
Despite the setbacks in the U.S., the company voiced optimism about its potential in Europe and Asia, as well as in new technologies and industries on the road to 5G, at a meeting with analysts this week.
“Some things cannot change their course according to our wishes,” deputy chairman Eric Xu said at the meeting in Shenzhen, according to the paper. “With some things, when you let them go, you actually feel more at ease.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations