Ren Zhengfei. Source: a video screenshot, Youtube, Financial Times
Ren Zhengfei, the founder and CEO and of Chinese giant Huawei that was recently blacklisted* by the U.S., said that China can issue a similar digital token to Facebook‘s Libra.
Responding to Italian media questions whether Libra will help the U.S. to retain its hegemony and whether Chinese companies will be allowed to join the Libra club, Zhengfei said that "Even China is able to issue such currencies, why wait for Libra?"
"The strength of a state is greater than that of an Internet company," the CEO said, according to a report in Corriere Della Sera on July 22.
Meanwhile, during congressional hearings last week, David Marcus, co-creator of Libra, head of their Calibra wallet, stressed that "If we fail to act, we could soon see a digital currency controlled by others whose values are dramatically different."
"I am excited about the potential that Libra holds, and I am proud that Facebook has initiated this effort here in the United States. I believe that if America does not lead innovation in the digital currency and payments area, others will," he said.
Meanwhile, Facebook’s plans to create its own cryptocurrency have reportedly forced China’s central bank into stepping up research into creating its own digital currency as Libra could potentially pose a challenge to Chinese cross-border payments, monetary policy and even financial sovereignty.
In either case, the U.S. lawmakers are still skeptical towards the Libra project and it’s not clear whether the project will launch in the U.S. in case it fails to get necessary regulatory approvals.
However, during a quarterly earnings call on Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said:
"We’ve opened a period of – however long it takes to address regulators and different experts and constituents’ questions about [Libra] and then figure out what the best way to move forward is."
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* – The U.S. accused Huawei of violating Iran sanctions and stealing American intellectual property, accusations Huawei denies. Washington has also lobbied allied governments to keep Huawei out of their 5G networks, arguing that the company’s equipment could be used to spy for the Chinese government. Also, U.S. companies were banned from selling most U.S. parts and components to Huawei without special licenses. But President Donald Trump said last month that sales could resume as he sought to restart trade talks with Beijing, according to Reuters.