Huawei, the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world – passing Ericsson in 2012 – has threatened to pull out of the US market amid what they say are unsubstantiated claims of spying for the Chinese government. This comes from Huawei Chief Executive Officer Ren Zhengfei, who said at a press conference in France, that Huawei is “exiting the US market”.
Earlier this year Zhengfei said in relation to the Edward Snowden NSA spying leaks that:
Huawei has no connection to the cyber-security issues the U.S. has encountered in the past, current and future.
While Ren has not advised that Huawei has any immediate plans to shut down their US offices, stating that Huawei mobile phones are still selling well. William Plummer, a Huawei vice president based in Washington advised that they are focusing priority on markets that are more receptive to competition such as Europe.
In Australia, Huawei has been banned from tendering for the National Broadband Network (NBN) by the previous government because of security concerns, though no proof of these concerns have been forthcoming. Huawei Australia has repeatedly denied claims that it is a security risk. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that the present government is considering lifting the ban on Huawei tendering for the NBN, in a recent interview he said:
Even if you accept the premise that Huawei would be an accessory to espionage – I’m not saying they will be, I’m just saying that’s the premise – if you accept that, you then have to ask yourself, does the equipment that they would propose to sell have that capacity? …Is the equipment that Huawei is proposing to sell to you, or the systems that they are proposing to sell, capable of intercepting and diverting traffic signals in a manner that is not detectable?
If the Australian government continues the ban on Huawei participating in the NBN, it’s possible we could see Huawei pull out of the Australian market as well.
What do you think? Is the Australian and/or the US government’s stance on Huawei reasonable?