The CEO of Huawei, China’s largest smartphone manufacturer, said that China should issue cryptocurrencies, in a recent interview he had with several Italian media outlets.
During the interview, Italian journalist Fabio Savelli asked Ren whether he thought the launch of Facebook's cryptocurrency project Libra is a sign that the U.S. tech giant is trying to maintain its world dominance, along with the U.S. government.
CEO Zhengfei Ren responded that “China can also issue a similar currency [like Libra]. Why wait for someone else to issue it? A nation’s power is greater than that of an internet company.”
Meanwhile, Ren's Huawei has been actively seeking opportunities in the blockchain technology for years. In 2016, it became an inaugural member of the Financial Blockchain Shenzhen Consortium and joined the Hyperledger consortium led by the Linux Foundation. In 2018, the company issued a white paper of the Huawei blockchain, built on top of its cloud platform.
Besides Huawei, China’s other tech giants including Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu all issued their own blockchain projects. Notably, Alibaba and Tencent are the parent companies of Alipay and WeChat Pay, respectively, which are widely considered as the rivals of Facebook’s Libra.
In fact, soon after Facebook announced its cryptocurrency plan, Tencent CEO Pony Ma posted on WeChat that “the [blockchain] technology is mature and it is not difficult [to be realized], but the point is whether the regulators would allow it.”
Prompted by Facebook’s Libra project, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) is also entertaining the idea of developing its own cryptocurrency. Wang Xin, director of the PBoC’s research bureau, said that the central bank began studying digital assets in 2014 and has been paying “high attention” to Libra.