Donald Trump now wants to save ZTE and everyone's confused

US authorities have banned firms from selling parts to China's ZTE for seven yearsMore

In a stark announcement earlier this week, the Chinese telecom giant confirmed it was shutting down "major operating activities". ZTE was mentioned in the FCC's proposal in a section detailing the federal government's concerns with foreign tech companies.

ZTE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

He said that the Commerce Department, the USA authority which has imposed the seven-year ban, had been told to "get it done".

Writing on Twitter, Trump said he had issued instructions for officials to come up with a rescue plan, saying too many jobs were at risk.

Potentially, there may be pressure behind the scenes from USA suppliers who fear a loss of business as companies like Taiwan's MediaTek plan to step up in a bid to work with ZTE in the event that it is blocked from US partners.

China requested that President Donald Trump back off his threat of tariffs on Chinese imports, treat Chinese investments equally under United States security reviews, and reassess the ban on ZTE.

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At issue is that department's move last month to block the ZTE Corp., a major supplier of telecoms networks and smartphones based in southern China, from importing American components for seven years. Unlike many other Chinese smartphone makers, ZTE's Android phones are also popular in the U.S, thanks to low-priced phones and savvy marketing ploys (the company's sponsored five National Basketball Association teams, including the Golden State Warriors).

Qualcomm last month said it expected lost sales to ZTE to lower its earnings by 3 cents per share in the current quarter.

ZTE also sells handsets to U.S. mobile carriers including AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.

But U.S. officials said this year that ZTE didn't discipline all the employees involved in the violations.

The ban came two months after two Republican senators introduced legislation to block the United States government from buying or leasing telecommunications equipment from ZTE or Huawei, citing concern the companies would use their access to spy on USA officials. The company's R&D expenditure past year stood at 12.96 billion yuan, which accounted for about 11.9 percent of the company's operating revenue.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is expected to resume trade talks with the Trump administration this week, after discussions in Beijing last week yielded no agreement on a long list of U.S. trade demands.

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