Huawei boss would like to share 5G tech.

Angela Lang/CNET

Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei is will­ing to share his com­pa­ny’s 5G tech­nol­o­gy with a West­ern buy­er, cre­at­ing a rival, he told the Econ­o­mist. He reck­ons it’d lev­el the play­ing field in a cli­mate where many coun­tries are ner­vous about giv­ing the con­tro­ver­sial Chi­nese com­pa­ny access to their next gen­er­a­tion wire­less net­works.

Ren’s deal would let the buy­er access Huawei’s exist­ing 5G patents, licences, code, tech­ni­cal blue­prints and pro­duc­tion knowl­edge for a one-time fee. The buy­er would be able to tweak the source code, so nei­ther Huawei nor the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment could even have hypo­thet­i­cal access of any tele­coms infra­struc­ture it was used in. It’d also leave Huawei free to devel­op its tech­nol­o­gy as it pleas­es.

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Huawei’s role in the glob­al 5G mar­ket has been thrown into ques­tion since the US Com­merce Depart­ment black­list­ed it in May, fol­low­ing an exec­u­tive order from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump that effec­tive­ly banned it from the coun­try’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions net­works. Huawei has been a tar­get of US law­mak­ers over con­cerns about its links with the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and fears that its equip­ment could be used to spy on oth­er coun­tries and com­pa­nies.

Ren, who’s been on a charm offen­sive for much of 2019, denied the spy­ing alle­ga­tions, but the US active­ly dis­cour­aged its Euro­pean allies not to use Huawei in their 5G net­works.

Huawei did­n’t imme­di­ate­ly respond to a request for fur­ther com­ment.

First pub­lished at 4:47 a.m. PT.Updated at 5:35 a.m. PT: Adds more detail.

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