Huawei founder urges shift to software to beat sanctions

''Dare to lead the world'' in software-- that's Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei's message to staff as the company seeks growth beyond hardware operations.

The internal memo seen by Reuters is the clearest evidence yet of the company's change in direction, as it responds to the immense pressure which U.S. sanctions have placed on the handset business that was at its core.

The memo said that the company should focus on building software ecosystems, such as its HarmonyOS operating system, its cloud AI system and other IT products.

Former U.S. president Donald Trump put Huawei on an export blacklist in 2019, and barred it from accessing critical U.S.-origin technology.

And the Biden administration has given no indication that it will reverse those sanctions.

Given the difficulty of working in the United States, Ren's note said the company should strengthen its position at home and build up its territory with a view to possibly excluding the U.S.

Apart from the pressure of sanctions, Huawei is known for its intense work culture, with the memo recommending the software teams should hire psychology professionals to help young recruits who may find the company emotionally challenging.