Chinese hardware firm ZTE, which you’ll remember as the company behind last October’s foldable Android phone and the owner of phone brand Nubia, was practically dead in the water as of last month owing to crushing US sanctions. Now, it’s found an unlikely savior in President Trump.
Back in March 2017, the company was ordered to pay $1.2 billion in fines for violating sanctions by shipping sensitive US-made technology to Iran. Last month, it was banned from receiving and using American software and hardware in its products (including Qualcomm processors), and found its manufacturing arm unable to deliver new devices, which includes a range of phones and telecom equipment.
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On Sunday, President Trump tweeted that he’s keen to see ZTE rescued:
President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2018
Trump didn’t share any further details – but it’ll be interesting to see what spells for the Chinese firm, which employs some 75,000 people and was the fourth largest phone brand in the US as of last August. It may also have wider implications for the ongoing battle between the US and China in trade dealings, as the American government is currently demanding that the Chinese government put an end to subsidies for advanced manufacturing firms there, in a bid to bring jobs and spending back stateside.