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The surprise arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co., has thrust the company into a political firestorm and deepened a core threat: that more and more countries will blacklist its switches, routers and phones out of growing concern that they could be hijacked by foreign spies.

Yet inside Huawei’s Shenzhen headquarters, a secretive group of engineers is toiling away heedless to such risks. They are working on what is next — a raft of artificial intelligence, cloud-computing and chip technology crucial to China’s national priorities and Huawei’s future. As the trade war drags on, China’s government has pushed to create an industry that is less dependent on cutting-edge U.S. semiconductors and software.

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