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Leonid Bershidsky

Huawei Can Build a Fine Phone Without U.S. Parts

The path to independence for the Chinese company won’t be easy, but it’s a worthy endeavor.

The U.S. doesn’t have a monopoly on design.

The U.S. doesn’t have a monopoly on design.

Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg

Ever since U.S. President Donald Trump banned Huawei Technologies Co., the Chinese electronics maker, from using any U.S. technology without the government’s express permission, I’ve wondered whether Huawei can produce a mobile phone without any American parts or preloaded software.

I’m not just idly curious: My current phone is a Huawei, and I’m happy enough with it — mainly because of its superior camera, made in cooperation with Germany’s Leica Camera AG — that I don’t want to switch when it’s time to get a new handset. In a way, I have skin in the game: I want Huawei to keep making phones no matter what happens next in the U.S.-China trade war or what national security concerns the U.S. government might have about the company.