SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Huawei Technologies has built up stakes in Chinese semiconductor companies and other tech businesses as the world’s largest telecoms equipment maker bolsters its supply chain in the face of pressure from the United States.
Habo Investments, set up by Huawei in April 2019, has closed 17 deals for stakes in Chinese tech companies since August last year, public records show.
The investment arm was established in response to what Huawei’s rotating chairman, Guo Ping, last week described as “suppression” by the United States after escalating restrictions that have cut off Huawei’s supplies of many overseas chips and effectively barred it from building its own.
“Since Huawei is only one company, we use investment and technology to help our supply chain partners become mature,” he said.
The company has emerged as a focal point in deteriorating U.S.-China relations with President Donald Trump’s administration alleging that its equipment could be used by Beijing for spying, which the Chinese company has denied repeatedly.
Huawei’s investment push also coincides with ramped-up government efforts to boost China’s semiconductor sector, which still lags behind leading chip producers including the United States, South Korea and Taiwan.
While the investments might help Huawei in the future, analysts say they have done little so far to address the supply chain gaps that are undermining its once-booming smartphone business and could eventually threaten its core network equipment operations.
“It will take a long time,” said one Chinese chip investor. “But they don’t have many good options, so they must turn to investing outside.”
Huawei declined to comment on the investment division’s operations.
Most of Habo Investment’s deals have been in chip-related