(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY JUNE 5, 2019) — In THE PLANET‘s recent column on President Trump’s trade war with China, Indiana University economist and good friend Dr. Charles Trzcinka mentioned tech giant Huawei. Maybe you haven’t heard of them, but this Chinese company is the world’s largest telecom manufacturer, employing 188,000 workers and doing business in 170 countries. It makes smartphones, microchips, and other related equipment; offers cloud services; runs undersea cable; and more. It does this at lower cost and higher quality than competitors.

Huawei’s astounding success has drawn detractors, who cite what they call Huawei’s duplicitous business practices — allegations of corporate theft of technical secrets — that allow it to compete and succeed on unfair terms. The company’s critics describe an organization that will stop at nothing to lift secrets from its competitors (e.g. Cisco Technology, Motorola, T-Mobile U.S.).

It would figure that Huawei’s dominance of this crucial industry would get sucked into Trump’s trade war, and recently the Administration passed measures preventing Huawei from accessing selected American suppliers. China, in turn, responded by blocking American telecom firms from rare minerals mined in China and essential in the manufacture of telecommunication devices. How this high-stakes game plays out stands as a separate discussion. Rather, we explore the question of whether critics are correct in their estimations of Huawei’s business practices.

THE PLANET sees the criticisms as unjustified.

REVERSE ENGINEERING — Copying and theft are the charges most often thrown at Huawei, but this ignores the manner of advances in telecom. Breakthroughs come incrementally, each building on what came before. There’s a fine line between “stealing” technology and obtaining competitor’s products, reverse engineering them, and improving the goods. In the global marketplace, industries that have clearly defined quality standards based on measurable performance do not create. They innovate. The wheel can no longer be invented. It can only be improved. Why wouldn’t a company study its competitors products and figure out how to make better ones?

HUMILITY — Yes, an odd word to use here, but Huawei began in 1987 when Ren Zhengfei started selling telecom switches from his apartment near Hong Kong. With success came growth. In 2001, Zhengfei opened offices in Plano, Texas. The following year, he added a branch in Santa Clara, Calif. Why not Pittsfield, Mass., and the PEDA site we’ll never know. He was also modest enough to realize he needed to better understand Western culture. To that end, he hired IBM as a consultant to teach him Western business models. This man took measure of himself, put ego aside, and l-e-a-r-n-e-d.

R&D — The secret to Huawei’s success. In 2018, the company spent more than $15 billion on research and development. Only Amazon, Google, and Samsung spent more (source: Standard & Poor). Huawei’s R&D budget signals the company’s confidence not just in its future but the future itself. R&D by nature often leads to dead ends, and innovation doesn’t come easily. Huawei puts its money where it will do the most good, keeping it ahead of its more cautious competitors. Why knock a company for believing in itself?

QUALITY — A company can compete on price, but it can’t dominate without quality. When it offers both, you have an unbeatable combination. A large part of Huawei’s growth comes from companies wanting the tech giant to help them set up next-generation 5G networks. “We have found their equipment to be the most reliable,” said Joseph Franell, CEO, Eastern Oregon Telecom, quoted in the Wall Street Journal. “We haven’t had a single equipment failure from Huawei. That’s an astounding record.” The Journal says Huawei “offers prices that are 20%-30% less expensive than its competitors and lavishes unprecedented attention on small customers.”

This combination of innovation, price, and reliability resulted in a 20% jump in revenues in 2018 compared to the year before, rising to $100 billion. To artificially penalize the company because it’s so effective not only hurts U.S. suppliers but will punish both U.S. suppliers and customers. Do you think Qualcomm, Intel, IBM, and Microsoft — all Huawei suppliers — will eat the lost revenues caused by the Trump Administration’s new restriction? Will you like paying more for your next upgrade? Is that the best the United States can do?

THE PLANET advocates free and open markets. Those are the only conditions that allow the most market equitability. If Company A is winning, then Company B should find out why and learn from it rather than cry to Big Brother government for an artificial and ultimately “boost.”


“To statemen, would you give a wipe? You print it in italic type”Jonathan Swift, from “On Poetry: A Rhapsody.”



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  1. CC The Maze Sun
    June 4, 2019 at 8:34 pm #

    Didn’t Obama do the same thing with Toyota? Stuck gas pedals anyone? Take the largest most successful company down to help the other ones who are struggling? Pay no attention to the kickbacks.

    Wasn’t Vietnam supposed to stop the spread of communism? Or was that just a lie? You bought it. You sleep.

    Livin a dream. The American dream is made in China.

    • Johnny99
      June 5, 2019 at 2:10 am #

      Actually, a huge percentage of clothing sold in America is now made in Vietnam

  2. Jonathan Melle
    June 4, 2019 at 9:26 pm #

    The United States government owes the Chinese government over one trillion dollars that paid for the Bush 2 and Trump Republican Party so-called tax cuts. Borrow from China and give tax cuts to billionaires in America.

  3. doomiedodger
    June 5, 2019 at 12:13 am #

    I have read that a shocking amount of real estate and business s in America are foreign owned. This includes farmland. Apparently many of the children of farmers do not wish to carry on the hard work of farming and foreign investors are offering the best prices. Interesting that so many are against immigration but not railing against the country itself being sold out from under us.

  4. Truthsayer
    June 5, 2019 at 2:36 am #

    Interesting thoughts on Huawei, and for me, timely. I’m in the market for a new laptop and a model from Huawei keeps coming up as a top-rated choice. The most disturbing thing about this aluminum machine is that it is pretty much an exact duplicate of an American designed Apple Macbook Pro. Which brings up the question, did the Chinese company do what they do best , copy our product? Then, there’s the nagging comments from protectionists that Huawei computers come with built in Chinese spyware.

  5. Johnny99
    June 5, 2019 at 3:10 am #


    Why not Huawei at the PEDA site you ask in jest? Same reason no other company will – it’s a toxic site with unremediated foundations.

    China is our enemy and Huawei is obligated to assist China government in spying and China has hundreds if not thousands of nuke missles capable of hitting at USA /Hawaii right now. And here is a good story on Huawei’s dirty business practices.

  6. The school committee
    June 5, 2019 at 3:34 am #

    Jonathan is correct,get money for the billionaires and corporations and make blue collar responsible to pay it off.American workers get screwed everyday but vote for the guy screwing them.Warren is the best candidate right now for the blue collar worker.She is the labor President.

    • Pat
      June 5, 2019 at 4:44 pm #

      Liz Warren is one of the worst candidates ever for this country. When not pretending to be of Native American ancestry, Ms. Warren is wasting time running for president. Americans have no reason to trust her. Her policies are extremely and radically far left. She is only interested in enslaving everyone to big government. Her time would be better spent doing actual work helping Massachusetts residents who she is supposed to be representing and not constantly promoting the far left agenda and calling anyone who disagrees with her politics “a racist”.

  7. Gigi
    June 5, 2019 at 4:26 am #

    Once again I disagree with your viewpoint, Dan.
    This story is larger than the “success story” that it appears in your column.
    Huawei’s CFO has been accused of money laundering, bank fraud, and wire fraud to violate sanctions against Iran.This is a Communist company which has been accused of industrial espionage. Their R&D facility “Ox Horn” is a mini replica of Europe – a testimony to their global dominance philosophy. There is no way you can say with confidence that Huawei has not stolen technology from U.S. firms. They have also been accused of using their devices to spy and sabotage U.S. infrastructure.
    Not to mention, many of our elected/appointed officials such as Mitch McConnell/Elaine Chao and the Biden family have strong business ties to China. This complicates the chess game that Trump is playing with the Chi-Coms.
    I appreciate the fact that Trump is sticking up for American companies in global trade wars. I find it a bit sickening that you are glorifying a communist Chinese company.

    • Mr. G
      June 5, 2019 at 5:59 am #

      Hmmmm… seems like the Huawei CFO and Trump have both been accused of similar things. Trump’s laundry list of potential charges though is much lower ger and more impressive. Did Apple copy Microsoft? Did Microsoft engage in anti trust and anti trade endeavors? How do Ford innovations differ from GM’s? Dan has this one right

      • danvalenti
        June 5, 2019 at 9:09 am #

        Thanks, MR G. Apple, Microsoft, Ford, GM, GE — all the global companies, ALL — engage in “best practices.” That’s the biz euphemism to describe the activity that others call “copying” or “theft.” Every global company, particularly in the field of high-tech, monitors everything their competitors do and make. The object is to make a better product with higher quality at lower cost. Huawei has done this. That it plays the game better than anyone else at the moment is no cause for artificially supporting firms that can’t compete.

    • Johnny Absurdo
      June 5, 2019 at 8:17 am #

      The United States does not now or has ever used devious methods to steal information from other countries. Nor would they accept it if it was offered. When you hear the term “spy satellite” it refers to cartoons and comic books.

      But I hear other countries are not so honest and trustworthy.

      • Mr. G
        June 5, 2019 at 4:19 pm #

        You are being sarcastic or facetious I presume Johnny A.

        • Johnny Absurdo
          June 6, 2019 at 12:34 am #

          Absurdo….sarcastic or facetious….ridiculous or inane

    • danvalenti
      June 5, 2019 at 10:05 am #

      Thanks GIGI. Your argument is well made and presented. You mention on the marquee that Huawei is a “communist” company. I would respond: And so? “Communist” or “capitalist” companies represent in the global marketplace differences without distinctions. Practices and the results they produce are the only proof of effectiveness. By that standard, you can see that “communist” companies — if they wish to compete globally — must move toward capitalism. U.S. and other so-called “capitalist” companies have moved slightly toward “communism” as seen by state involvement in their affairs, i.e., corporate welfare and the bailouts after the 2008 recession. To pretend there are these two separate philosophies ignores how computerized global markets and economies function. They only true differences are the outward politics that countries proclaim, for various reasons. Huawei decided to play OUR game, learned the rules, and figured it out better than the competitors. They are the New England Patriots of high-tech. Same game, same field, same rules but exploited to mine the subtle advantages that slip by less effective, less intelligent, less unified teams.

  8. doomiedodger
    June 5, 2019 at 4:37 am #


    Apparently the city council voted down the pickle ball courts (for now). But if I read it right in iBerkshires Mazzeo was and still is all for it even though it would suck up taxpayer money during tough times for citizens that do not have as plush a life as she. She is not trying very hard to get elected mayor.

    • Ted
      June 5, 2019 at 10:25 am #

      What a mistake by Mazzeo. That was a gift.

  9. Brian C. Marquis
    June 5, 2019 at 5:28 am #

    Silk-stocking Mazzeo is as phony as the claim “Andrew’ threatened her during a casual phone conversation.

    Never forget that she’s also a tax and spend liberal like ‘all’ her predecessors.

    This upcoming mayoral contest is an interesting one – in that Mazzeo (a Bianchi disciple) is fighting to remain relevant in Pittsfield politics.

    Voting Mazzeo reignites the Bianchi network (and gives Bowler’s re-election effort a boost it desperately needs). This should not happen.

    And that’s the bottom-line!!!

    • Ted
      June 5, 2019 at 6:13 am #

      Am I the only one who doesn’t get the Andrew thing?

      • Johnny Absurdo
        June 5, 2019 at 8:20 am #

        I think he may be referring to the hurricane of 1992. I know it was very windy on the Florida coast that day

      • Brian C. Marquis
        June 5, 2019 at 10:27 am #

        ‘[T]he Andrew thing” came from an article in iBerkshires once when they referred to Harrington as “Andrew” in the caption.

        • Two Cents
          June 5, 2019 at 10:47 am #

          Maybe, but it has not caught on with anyone here except the poster. It’s is not or will it be “a thing” So, I personally wish he would let it die.

          • Brian C. Marquis
            June 6, 2019 at 5:53 am #

            “Andrew”, right hand oath taking, mis-characterizing a district court’s charge to hear certain felonies, falsely stating Williams College sexual assault claims et al.

            It all adds up to more than “Two Cents”.

          • danvalenti
            June 6, 2019 at 8:12 am #

            Yes, maybe three cents … or a wooden nickel.

    • danvalenti
      June 5, 2019 at 9:12 am #

      We agree, BRIAN, that Mazzeo needs to differentiate herself from Tyer on taxes, spending (particularly school spending), and like issues. She does this by moving toward the center and away from the left. There is a huge, untapped, dissatisfied portion of the electorate — sleeping now — that would awaken if they had a LEGITIMATE candidate (something we’ve defined in a previous column) to reflect their more conservative views. A LEGIT centrist wins. Another “Pittsfield Progressive” loses. “Tyer-Lite” won’t cut it.

      • Johnny99
        June 5, 2019 at 9:51 am #

        Pretty much spot on. One reason Bianchi lost was because he was a tax and spender who bought the Renaissance bs, bought into the PEDA bs, and the Murray’s Mirage, and failed to cut the budget, especially in the school department. If he was half as good at mayor as he was as ward 6 councilor, he would have perhaps won against Tyer. Personally, I wish he would run for ward 6 again.

      • Brian C. Marquis
        June 5, 2019 at 10:21 am #

        I’m guessing ‘crosscutting’ has yet to find its place in Pittsfield politics. In other words, information that crosses over to those who typically subscribe to one point of view, or political persuasion. The splicing of a narrative that injects bits of subliminal or conscious messaging.

        Voting silk-stocking Mazzeo is a carryover of the old guard. If you recall the only mayor to raise a loud boisterous voice over city affairs was Anne Wojkowski; and we all now how that saga unfolded.

  10. Spider
    June 5, 2019 at 6:06 am #

    Bravo to our CC (especially Councilors White and Persip) for voting down the pickle ball petition.

    The colossal nerve of non-Pittsfield residents telling us how to spend our tax dollars.

    Can you just imagine going to one of our neighboring towns and doing the same thing!

    • doomiedodger
      June 5, 2019 at 6:15 am #

      Yes, apparently there are 129 people who like pickle ball in Berkshire County and for them the rest of us need to build them a pickle ball court. What is next, polo?

      So sick of the money people forcing regular folk to finance their hobbies.

      • danvalenti
        June 5, 2019 at 9:05 am #

        The council did the right thing. Pickleball for the out-of-shape elitists is OK but only if it comes funded by their own money.

        • Magic
          June 5, 2019 at 10:09 am #

          Maybe help save the Carousel and put it at Springside, Hoping for Ms. Mayor to do something smarter with my tax dollars.

          • Johnny99
            June 6, 2019 at 7:25 am #

            Great idea. Totally against spending any city money on Pickelball. Totally against community preservation scam too but since it does exist because people were dumb enough to vote for it, then using it for Caousel instead of Pickleball or fixing up a useless house in Springside Park is a no brainer.

            Thousand of city folk like to play golf. Should the city build and run a golf course????? Just borrow some money and add some community preservation money to it and wala – a city golf course. How about the PEDA country club?

          • danvalenti
            June 6, 2019 at 8:11 am #

            Great idea. Turn the PEDA property into an 18-hole, PGA-approved course. Pittsfield can hold the Fifth Major, after the Master’s, British Open, etc. Question: What should the name of the fifth Major be if it’s held in Pittsfield on the PEDA acres?

          • Spagirl
            June 6, 2019 at 4:19 pm #

            Put the Carousel in Park Square
            At least tourists can look at it on their drive through the Pitts.

        • Wilson
          June 5, 2019 at 8:44 pm #

          True, but they are burning so much money on Springside House, park bathrooms, a gas station demolition, removing a privately owned dam, etc. that pickleball seems quite reasonable in comparison

          • danvalenti
            June 6, 2019 at 8:14 am #

            Great point, WILSON. The problem would have been, though, not an “either/or” (either Springside House etc. OR pickleball) and an “and”: All that other stuff AND pickleball.

        • Moscow Mules
          June 6, 2019 at 1:28 pm #

          What about pickle pocket pool?

          • danvalenti
            June 6, 2019 at 6:24 pm #

            By all means! We can put it next to the Milt Plum Memorial HOF on Fourth Street.

  11. Kermit Frog
    June 5, 2019 at 6:30 am #

    Huawei is about spying not engineering. I guess the prof didn’t hang with the Indiana military linguists – it being a top 5 recruiting location for the agencies.

    • Mr. Fritz
      June 6, 2019 at 9:00 am #

      Spot on Froggy – Huawei is a spy machine. They have rooms in their various satellite offices set aside for “Chinese only.” Any ChiCom business is required to spy – part of their “duty” as a Chinese company.

      • Kermit Frog
        June 6, 2019 at 12:34 pm #

        Apart from the totalitarian government – China seems like the most capitalist place on earth – apart from Russia – which is bizarre to be sure. They have their blinkers on right but are turning left.
        US, European, Korean and Japanese companies tend to follow patent rules and are less blatant about their transgressions in the name of state benefit. For a while VW was the only western car company in China and when they decided to create a new Chinese car company they just stole the 1989 Jetta engineering specs – so now you see a whole bunch of Chinese cars that look just like 1989 Jettas. They are smart and determined but play by different rules – we play by our rules they play by their own.

  12. The school committee
    June 5, 2019 at 9:02 am #

    Pickleball is tennis for the completely out of shape. It’s the wiffleball of tennis .Doesnt tennis suck enough when people over 40 enen try to play.

    • X-Lachs Lounge
      June 5, 2019 at 7:14 pm #

      TSC, my advice to you…..stick with pocket pool.

  13. The school committee
    June 5, 2019 at 9:05 am #

    Mazzeo is Tyer Lite,it’s Almost July and she’s running for mayor to do what Tyer and McCandless are doing.Not voting for this crap again.I just want someone who can do math.

  14. Mad Trapper
    June 5, 2019 at 9:53 am #

    China has been ignoring patent laws, copying products for decades now.

    The USA has allowed it as palms are greased, as in Clintons.

    I won’t buy Chinesium crap. If I don’t have a Chi-Com cell phone all the better.

  15. The school committee
    June 5, 2019 at 1:39 pm #

    America wanted to access China’s cheap labor and 1.2 billion consumers so we invited them to open up as they have taken bigger steps than we have.Remember what the late 80s had regressive Trump voter fearing Japan’s success and that fear ruined public education and gave every satiate ed reform.The cost of fear can not be measured.

  16. The school committee
    June 5, 2019 at 1:42 pm #

    I guess Mazzeo just wants Tyers paycheck with no budget changes.Is Coakly bringing as by jobs?

  17. Jonathan Melle
    June 5, 2019 at 2:34 pm #

    The lovely Linda Tyer will win reelection against the lovely Melissa Mazzeo in 2019! The lovely Linda Tyer is the best Mayor of Pittsfield EVER!

    • Luke Scump
      June 5, 2019 at 7:17 pm #

      What the PSI rating on your Linda love doll?

      • Luke Scump
        June 5, 2019 at 7:18 pm #

        Did you and Marquis get a 2 for 1 deal on your Linda love dolls?

        • Rule 27
          June 5, 2019 at 8:52 pm #

          Be nice. linda is vibrant and dynamic and she can collaborate. That’s what we need from a mayor. Ole stink breath did it too.

          • Jonathan Melle
            June 5, 2019 at 9:13 pm #

            I respect the lovely Linda Tyer and the lovely Melissa Mazzeo. They are both great candidates for Mayor of Pittsfield!

  18. The school committee
    June 6, 2019 at 4:37 am #

    If you can say yes to all the mismanaged school spending then every irresponsible human being is a great candidate to be Pittsfields mayor.Imagine telling McCandless we will not give you 25 new positions or 3.5 million extra for 181 school days with a lower school population every year.Why is PHS empty.Senior class is 167

    • danvalenti
      June 6, 2019 at 8:08 am #

      A most interesting and informative post. Thanks, GHOST.

    • Mr. Fritz
      June 6, 2019 at 8:53 am #

      Spot on Ghost Rider – thanks for posting that! You can easily substitute the school district’s name as Pittsfield Public, as this is the thought process of the PPS administrators!

  19. Spider
    June 6, 2019 at 8:17 am #

    I couldn’t believe Councilor Simonelli’s reasons for supporting pickle ball included an e-mail he had received from a gentleman who lives in Cleveland but spends summers here and supports it.

    These well-intentioned folks (many who do not live in our city) should start a fund raiser. That’s what other sports groups do all the time.

    I hope this vote by the CC is FINAL.

  20. Johnny Absurdo
    June 6, 2019 at 8:30 am #

    What we have at the Pittsfield city hall is not government at all. While it has the façade of government it is much more a self serving entity that takes much better care of the haves than those who do not reside in the upper income brackets.

    I am proposing a petition to remove the word government from all city hall documents and communications as well as imposing hefty fines if it is used by any city official in the capacity of their duties.

  21. Ted
    June 6, 2019 at 8:38 am #

    I think it’s unfair to make the mayor share the “Lovely “ moniker with her challenger. You can do better, Jonathan.

    • Reignbow
      June 6, 2019 at 11:34 am #

      How about Sweet Melissa or Peaches.

    • Already Tyred
      June 6, 2019 at 7:13 pm #

      Let’s go with Lame Duck Linda.

  22. The school committee
    June 6, 2019 at 11:00 am #

    The 25 new school positions are the most jobs anyone has brought to the city.We have the most bloated school system in the state with little results.MCAS needs to be trashed.Use remote schooling for behavior problems.Should have hired 25 cops instead of school employees

    • Johnny Absurdo
      June 6, 2019 at 11:26 am #

      What would be fair is to give every taxpayer a city job and associated benefits. 25 percent of the current city jobs are unneeded make work nepotismal creations anyway. Would it be socialism to just create more make work jobs for all and put everyone on the city gravy train?

      I think the mayor should sit down with McCandless (who has experience in this area) and start making up jobs. Seriously, given the slovenly condition of the city there seems to be plenty of things that need doing.

    • Mr. Fritz
      June 6, 2019 at 5:40 pm #

      Bravo, TSC. I rarely agree with your posts – but this one is right on target! Every other school district in the state is looking for ways to consolidate EXCEPT PPS! Their focus is on Special Ed, not on college-bound students. So sad.
      I agree, should have hired 25 extra cops instead of adding school positions!

  23. Sonny
    June 6, 2019 at 2:16 pm #

    i see Spider cheering on the Lefty Council for voting down pickle ball courts. I have never played or seen it played. But some of the people i know who would have liked to see this pass have been tax payers to this welfare town for 40-50 years. I think they deserve some respect. If this had west side-morning side attached to it the Mayor + the Loonies would be straining their elbows patting themselves on the back. As usual the so called Democrat principle of all inclusive puts hard working, good citizens to the back of the line.

    • Herb Pease
      June 6, 2019 at 6:59 pm #

      And I am a long time taxpayer and I want a free golf course and a skeet and trap range.

  24. Roy Storr
    June 6, 2019 at 2:52 pm #

    Rivers asked Miranda if he had a bucket list and asked Persip what he would do if he won ten million dollars? This is the flip flop we have on tv.

  25. Goodbye Krol World
    June 6, 2019 at 6:57 pm #

    Here are the categories for the upcoming tournament;

    1. Bread & Butter Pickle Ball
    2. Candied Pickle Ball
    3. Dill Pickle Ball
    4. Fermented or Processed Pickle Ball
    5. German-Style Dill Pickle Ball
    6. Gherkin Pickle Ball
    7. Half Sour Pickle Ball
    8. Kosher Dill Pickle Ball
    9. Sour Pickle Ball
    10. Sweet Pickle Ball

  26. ProxyDate
    June 7, 2019 at 3:47 am #

    Dan you are so off the mark on this one it’s shocking and saddening.
    You are ignoring the largest and most dangerous part of the why.

    Why is Huawei so successful? it has partnered with the Chinese government, the Chinese intelligence services to provide full and unfettered access to all of its products and data provided about users of its products.
    The Chinese government in return has shuttered businesses, provided plans, engaged in espionage to assist huawei in global market domination.
    We aren’t talking incremental building on old ideas, we are talking about direct theft of new technologies, corporate and state espionage.

    As a rabid defender of JA one would think privacy would be a concern of yours, clearly it’s not. As more huawei products become imbedded in in NOCs and the backbone of the internet, the less privacy we all have.

    Cisco along with help from DARPA, the FBI, and CIA, did a test, they created a honey pot encryption product. One of the “keys” to the product was a small Indian mfg chip by a very small India telecom company. Mind you the plans were not made public, the plans were internal only, and this was done purely as an exercise to test an intelligence issue.
    Within the month, under the auspices of further entering the phone market in India (a legitimate thing) huawei made announcements about new products and quietly acquired that small little company in India. It’s easy enough to track.
    That company had zero value, made an inferior product, in fact the chip it made was highly inferior to others on the market. But it was SECRETLY important, or at least seemed so, to the US govt so it was purchased.

    If you defend huawei, you are no friend of a free press.