According to Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s largest newspaper, Ericsson CEO Brje Ekholm repeatedly texted the country’s foreign trade minister, Anna Hallberg, calling for the cancellation of sanctions against China’s Huawei. 5G ban, saying the ban “threatens Sweden’s relations with other countries” and that “Sweden is a very bad country for Ericsson”. Ericsson even tried to help Huawei find a lawyer for Sweden’s 5G ban…
Sweden-based telecom equipment giant Ericsson has recently received attention for its “solidarity with Huawei”.
On January 1, according to Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s largest newspaper, Ericsson CEO Brje Ekholm repeatedly sent text messages to the country’s foreign trade minister, Anna Hallberg, calling for Lift the 5G ban on China’s Huawei, saying the ban “threatens Sweden’s relations with other countries” and that “Sweden is a very bad country for Ericsson.”
But Hallberg responded that the decision on Huawei was made on the advice of the Swedish Defense Council and would not be cancelled in the short term.
Chongguan angrily for Huawei?
On January 3, Sweden’s “Daily News” said that Sweden’s decision to exclude Huawei from the list of 5G suppliers was affected by the conflict between China and the United States, and “had to choose a side between China and the United States.”
“Deutsche Welle” said that the “Daily News” exposed the “pressure” text message that Bao Yikang sent to Minister of Foreign Trade Hallberg, saying that Bao Yikang even indirectly threatened “Ericsson leaves Sweden”. In the past, Bao Yikang responded mildly to the ban of the Swedish Post and Telecommunications Administration in public. But in this text message, he strongly urged the government to take action and change its previous attitude-
When Huawei was preparing to take legal action over the Swedish ban, Ericsson even tried to find a lawyer for Huawei. “Interestingly, we talked to several Swedish law firms, but no one was willing to come forward and help Huawei. Unfortunately, there are a lot of cowards,” Ekang Bao said in a text message on Nov. 6.
“I don’t understand why a government official has the right to make a decision that threatens Sweden’s relations with other countries. He must have overstepped his authority?” Ekang Bao questioned in a text message on Nov. 14. “I still hope Sweden can help. , value our presence in Sweden.”
Hallberg said she could not intervene because it was a decision made by the Swedish Post and Telecommunications Authority on the advice of relevant authorities.
Then she got this reply: “Hi Anna, I understand your work. But now it seems that Sweden is a very bad country for Ericsson.”
Hallberg assured the Swedish government that Ericsson would be taken seriously, but Eikon continued: “If you put yourself in another position, you’ll see why there are so few tech companies in Europe. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to run a company here. “
The “Daily News” reported that Yikang Bao subsequently denied to the newspaper that he threatened the company’s stay in Sweden, emphasizing: “Our soul is in Sweden, here is Ericsson’s base.” This January 3 , which reviewed the background of the incident in two pages.
The sympathy of the strong, or a business?
Halberg replied to the “Daily News” on this matter, saying that he did not try to influence the Swedish Post and Telecommunications Administration, and argued that he never met with Bao Yikang, “Ericsson does not control the government, nor does it control me, but listen to them. Your opinion is important. Ericsson is important to Sweden.” And she will be committed to maintaining good trade relations with China.
The Swedish Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (PTS) announced in October 2020 that Swedish telecom companies participating in the auction are prohibited from using Huawei or ZTE’s 5G equipment, and those in use must be replaced by early 2025. After Huawei appealed the ban, the local administrative court issued an interim injunction against the ban. However, on December 16, the Stockholm Court of Appeal ruled that the temporary injunction issued by the Administrative Court was suspended, that is, the Huawei 5G ban came back into effect, but Huawei has the right to appeal the Swedish PTS. Some analysts believe that Sweden’s policy against Huawei involves multiple departments, and the PTS is greatly influenced by the Ministry of Defense, which has long had close relations with the United States.
Ericsson is not only a global leader in information and communication technology, but also known as the ballast of Swedish industry. The company employs around 100,000 people worldwide, 13,000 of whom are in Sweden. According to Ericsson’s official website, the company has R&D centers in eight cities in Sweden and is Sweden’s largest employer of engineers, hiring 2,000 new engineers in the past two years.
Deutsche Welle said Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia are Huawei’s main rivals in the supply of 5G equipment and infrastructure, but Ekholm did publicly express his support for Huawei. He told the Financial Times in November that Sweden’s decision to ban the use of Huawei equipment in 5G networks restricted free competition and trade,“I think competition will make us a better company in the long run. There may be pain in the short term, but in the long run it will drive us to innovate more and make better products for our customers.”
The article also analyzes Ericsson’s “motivation” for asking to “save” its rival Huawei. Bao Yikang’s support for Huawei is not unrelated to Ericsson’s business in China. There are fears that Sweden’s official decision to ban Huawei is likely to trigger retaliation from China, and the Chinese market is critical to Ericsson. Ericsson reportedly owns about 10 percent of China’s 5G market and relies heavily on Chinese subcontractors.
According to the analyst firm DellOro, Ericsson’s share in the global communications equipment market rose by 50% in the third quarter of this year, while Huawei’s share fell by nearly a quarter. Although Huawei is still the world’s largest communications equipment vendor, its market share is 32.8%, down 25.0% from 43.7% in the second quarter of 2020. Ericsson is about to surpass Huawei to become the world’s largest communications equipment vendor.
Swedish media quoted experts to speculate that Ericsson seems to hope that by expressing goodwill to Huawei’s Swedish affairs, the Chinese government will respond with goodwill in Ericsson’s business in China.
“The Swedish market is too small to make economic sense for neither Huawei nor Ericsson. But since this is Ericsson’s home market, it has strong symbolic value. So Ericsson wants to show the Chinese that the company is doing what it can. Influence Swedish politicians.”