Huawei vows to push on with 5G development despite bans, Meng Wanzhou arrest
- ‘We believe that customers will make their own decisions,’ says chairman Liang Hua
- China foreign ministry backs calls for immediate release of CFO detained in Canada
Huawei chairman Liang Hua said on Tuesday the company’s operations remained “normal” after the arrest of CFO Meng Wanzhou, and called for the early return of his colleague.
Liang said Huawei would continue to push on with 5G development despite more bans against the company. “In the face of a crisis of confidence from the West, first we must do our own work well, and continue to build Huawei’s competitiveness in the field of 5G,” said Liang, according to Sina Tech. “We believe that customers will make their own decisions.”
He said Huawei had already obtained 26 commercial 5G contracts.
Liang, who was reportedly appointed CFO following Meng’s arrest, thanked those around the world who had supported Meng and Huawei. He presented a coffee cup to the media, which he said was made spontaneously by company employees, with text that reads: “The lighthouse is waiting for the early return of the night boat.” The term night boat, or wanzhou, refers to Meng’s given name.
Meng’s arrest in Canada, at the behest of the United States, has ignited a diplomatic row between Beijing and Ottawa, and increased tensions between Beijing and other western capitals, as a Washington-led trade war targets Huawei, a top Chinese technology company.
After Meng’s detention, China arrested two Canadian citizens, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, on the charge of endangering its national security, a move that has been widely viewed as retaliation for Meng’s arrest.
Hua Chunying, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, said on Monday western countries calling for the release of Kovrig and Spavor were ignoring Meng’s arrest, and criticised the US and Canada for targeting the Huawei CFO.
“The ugly nature and impact of the Meng Wanzhou case cannot be clearer,” she said as she reiterated calls for Meng’s immediate release.
Hua also rejected claims that Spavor and Kovrig’s arrests were retaliation by China. “China’s competent authorities took compulsory measures in accordance with law against the Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, because they engaged in activities undermining China’s national security,” she said. “We urge the relevant countries to earnestly respect China’s judicial sovereignty,” she added.
Since Meng’s arrest on December 1, governments and companies around the world have announced new bans and reviews of Huawei products, increasing financial pressure on the company.
Last week, the prime minister of the Czech Republic ordered his office to stop using Huawei phones.
European telecom companies have warned against using Huawei equipment, citing concerns about security vulnerabilities and the company’s ties to China’s military.
Also last week, Stephane Richard, the chief executive of French telecoms company Orange, said it would remove Huawei equipment from sensitive parts of its networks. German company Deutsche Telekom said it would re-evaluate its use of Huawei equipment, while British Telecom said it would remove Huawei equipment from key parts of its networks as well.
The BBC reported on Monday that BT was also going to exclude Huawei equipment from a communications system it was developing for the UK’s police force and other emergency services. The move could extend work on the already late £2.3 billion (US$2.9 billion) project.