Huawei's billionaire CEO said Trump should meet him in China because he can only afford a paper airplane

  • Huawei's CEO Ren Zhengfei said Wednesday he would be happy to meet with President Donald Trump, but that he'd have to come to China.

  • "He has private jets and he can come to China anytime, and I do not have private jet. My airplane is only made of paper, if it rains it might fall," Ren said.

  • Ren is estimated to be a billionaire as the CEO and founder of Huawei, which is the world's second-biggest phone maker behind Samsung and dominant in mobile network equipment.

  • Ren has given conflicting statements over whether he'd talk to the president after Trump's administration placed Huawei on a trade blacklist in May.

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Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei said during a panel discussion on Wednesday that if President Trump wants to talk he'll have to come to China.

Ren was asked why he doesn't go to Washington to lobby Trump directly after Huawei was blacklisted by the US in May. Huawei's new phones are also blocked from running Google's mobile services thanks to the block.

"I don't have a channel of communication with Trump, I don't have his mobile phone number," Ren replied, although when asked whether he would speak with Trump given the chance he said: "Yes I would, certainly."

"He has private jets and he can come to China anytime, and I do not have private jet. My airplane is only made of paper, if it rains it might fall," he added.

Huawei is the second-biggest smartphone maker in the world, and dominant in mobile network equipment. Forbes places Ren's net worth at $1.4 billion.

The CEO has a history of confusing statements regarding Donald Trump.

In January 2019, after his CFO and daughter Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada at the behest of the US, Ren said Trump was a "great president."

Following the company's blacklisting however Ren said he would ignore a call from the president if it came in, and a month later he said he might be "too busy" to answer a call from Trump — adding that he doesn't speak English.

Ren's comments on Wednesday come as the US and China close in on sealing "phase one" of a trade deal, which may mean US suppliers will be able sell to Huawei once more.

"From the beginning I've never paid any attention to the trade war," Ren said, adding: "We have zero sales in the United States, so the trade war between the two countries bears no impact on Huawei."

It's true that Huawei mostly doesn't sell phones in the US. It has been impacted by the US lobbying its allies to block the firm from providing equipment for new superfast 5G mobile networks, however.

And Ren admitted the blacklist had impacted Huawei because it was unable to license and pre-install Google's suite of apps on its new flagship Mate 30 phone. The ability to use Google's services is key for most Western consumers buying Android phones.

"The impact in the non-China region is bigger than the China region," Ren said.

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