Chinese multinational Lenovo has issued a statement saying that CEO Yang Yuanqing’s interview with UK-based technology website The Inquirer, in which he was quoted as saying that Lenovo is not a Chinese company, was misinterpreted.

“Lenovo is a global company,” Yang told The Inquirer. “We’re not a Chinese company,” he said, adding that the company has a global footprint. The article aimed to investigate how the company was able to stay out of the spotlight, despite other Chinese companies being censured abroad.

However, the company says its CEO’s words were misconstrued, and further confusion was created by adding to the quote to the headline of the article. It claims that he said the company is not only a Chinese company but also a global firm, as it has R&D and manufacturing bases in numerous countries around the world.

Yang took to Weibo to express his views, saying he didn’t expect his interview with a foreign media outlet to cause such a reaction. “My dream has always been for Lenovo to be not only a successful Chinese company but also a global company with inclusiveness,” he continued.

Chinese tech companies including ZTE and Huawei have a rough time in recent months. Regulators and lawmakers have moved to limit the companies’ businesses in the US and Australia, citing national security concerns. Additionally, ZTE was banned from sourcing components from American manufacturers after it was found to have violated US sanctions on Iran and North Korea. It eventually paid $1.4 billion in penalties and agreed to impose radical changes in upper management to have the ban lifted.

Additionally, both ZTE and Huawei have been banned from conducting 5G trials in India.

However, Lenovo has also seen its share of suspicion. In 2014, US security officials weighed in on its purchase of IBM’s x86 server business, saying that it could weaken national security. This wasn’t the first time officials had concerns about an IBM-Lenovo deal. In 2005, IBM sold its PC business to the Chinese tech giant, which raised concerns that the company’s laptops were “connecting to China.”

Christopher Udemans is TechNode's former Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covered Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, cleantech, and cybersecurity.

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