+ Tuesday January 21st, 2020

After the article we wrote on the weekend analysing the latest Huawei “revelations” we thought we would address the situation regarding our relationship with Huawei and its effect on our independent editorial process.

Ausdroid’s relationship with Huawei – as with most phone manufacturers present in Australia – has been long, fulfilling and beneficial for us both.

Through that working relationship, we have had access to Huawei products to review: smartphones, accessories, laptops and more. We have benefited from sponsorship income from Huawei, and we have been invited to travelled with Huawei to international events, either on a hosted basis for phone or product launches (where Huawei pays for the lot) or on a sponsorship basis for trade-shows such as MWC or IFA (where Huawei contributes cash to our expenses, pooled with others).

In many ways, this relationship is no different to the relationships between Ausdroid and every other technology company we work with. We have made the same arrangements with Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC, Oppo, ZTE, Motorola and others in the past years, and we will continue to do so going forward as well.

This is how independent media pays for its operations, combined with advertising revenue. In our experience, it is not possible to do it any other way. Sponsored content, in particular, is something we know some readers do not like, but on the flip side, it’s how media – like us – can make money to keep operating.

We are not unique in this – small media like us through to big media like Fairfax or News Limited – we don’t buy review phones, we don’t (generally) pay to attend international events. Brands take us.They buy sponsored content and advertising opportunities. Everyone gets along. It’s how it works.

It’s clear, though, that Huawei is in a different position to other technology companies:

  • Huawei is on the US Entity List because the US government claims that the company presents a risk to US national security.
  • Huawei has been excluded in the past from participating in Australia’s NBN build, on similar grounds.
  • More recently, Huawei has been excluded from participating in Australia’s 5G networks, for the same reason. It has been similarly excluded around the world for these reasons, though some countries are rethinking their approach here.
  • It has been alleged that Huawei has contravened various sanctions by doing business with North Korea, and with Iran.
  • Huawei is – like many other technology companies – a Chinese company, predominantly based in China. Unlike many other Chinese companies, though, it has alleged – and not yet proved, to be fair – links to the Chinese central government.
  • Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfai, was a member of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, but with the nature of military service in China at the time Mr Zhengfai served, this is – in itself – not especially surprising.

While other technology companies are based in China, such as Oppo, Xiaomi, ZTE and others, few have drawn attention like Huawei has. ZTE has drawn scorn from the US Government, but has largely remedied the concerns levied against it. Huawei has not.

Reflecting on these circumstances in recent days and weeks, it is appropriate for us to maintain a professional relationship with Huawei, just as we do with any other brand.

While we do not necessarily agree with the views put forward by some of our readers, one piece of feedback resonates, and we’ve decided to act upon it.

Our personal views should not influence the coverage of news relating to the company. Equally, we must be mindful that our views may not align with our readers, and while we should not change our views simply to please others, we should be mindful of our place in this process.

It is not for us to be pro-Huawei. Nor, in fact, is it for us to be anti-Huawei. We need to be neutral on these issues, and keep it factual.

In reporting the news, we will avoid conflating news with our opinions; while we reserve the right to publish opinion pieces as we see fit, we will report the news independently and without giving the apprehension of bias.

Our readers are intelligent enough to form their own opinions, and those opinions need not align with ours. Our readers shouldn’t have to agree with us, nor we with them, but we have the platform and it is on us to use it responsibly.

We will continue to report on Huawei and other news but will refrain from offering our opinions one way or another. While we have strong social values here at Ausdroid, we will not use our platform – in relation to Huawei – to seek to change your views, nor convince you of ours.

Thank you for reading, we thank you for your patronage of our site and look forward to your readership going forward into the next decade of Ausdroid.

Editorial Board of Ausdroid Media  

Editorial Board of Ausdroid Media

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