It’s China’s Huawei against the world as spying concerns mount
- With its finance chief facing charges in the US, the telecoms giant is finding it increasingly difficult to find a friend
Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has been under intense scrutiny around the world in recent months amid concerns its technologies and products could be used for espionage by Beijing.
In December, its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada at the request of the United States Justice Department on charges she helped the company evade US sanctions on Iran. Although she has denied any wrongdoing, Meng is currently awaiting extradition proceedings and a hearing has been set for March 6.
Here is a round-up of what the world thinks about Huawei:
Huawei faces nearly two dozen charges in the US, which contends it violated economic sanctions and concealed its business dealings with Iran.
The White House is also planning to issue an executive order that would ban it from selling equipment for use in US telecommunications networks, and has put pressure on its allies to do the same or risk falling out of favour.
Last summer, Washington barred the use of equipment produced by Huawei and other Chinese companies in telecoms networks in the Pentagon and other government organs, and prohibited the sale of its cellphones on military bases.
In December, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said he had “grave, very deep concerns” about using Huawei products in Britain’s 5G infrastructure, saying the government would have to examine the possible security threats as it upgraded its mobile networks over the next two years.
On Tuesday, Huawei received a vote of confidence from Philippines-based network operator Globe Telecom, which said the security concerns had been overblown.
Globe, which already uses the Chinese company’s products, said it would push on with a planned roll-out of its fifth-generation (5G) commercial services in the second quarter of the year.
In January, Huawei was excluded from a Czech tender to build a portal for filing tax returns after the country’s cyber watchdog warned of possible security threats.
The move came after the National Cyber and Information Security Agency in December warned network operators and other key institutions against using hardware or software made by Huawei and China’s ZTE. A day later, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš ordered his government office to stop using Huawei mobile phones.
But the nation’s President Milos Zeman, who has sought to promote ties with Beijing, accused the security agency of offering no proof of the alleged threat and warned of a backlash from China.
Last month, Poland’s state security agency arrested Huawei sales director Wang Weijing and a Polish national over allegations of spying.
Wang was later fired by the Chinese company and Warsaw is considering banning the use of Huawei products in its 5G networks.
Poland is home to Huawei’s headquarters for central and eastern Europe and the Nordic region, as well as a joint innovation centre specialising in supercomputing.
Sweden and Norway
The two Scandinavian nations said in January they would investigate whether to allow the use of Huawei products and technologies in the development of their 5G networks.
New Zealand’s largest telecoms carrier Spark said in November that the country’s intelligence agency had barred it from using equipment provided by Huawei in its 5G network as doing so posed “significant national security risks”.
Huawei responded by running full-page advertisements in several major New Zealand newspapers that likened the ban on its products to staging a rugby tournament without inviting the All Blacks.
Australia in August cited security grounds for blocking Huawei from building its 5G network.
In a document sent to telecoms companies, the government said it “considers the involvement of vendors who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law, may risk failure by the carrier to adequately protect a 5G network from unauthorised access or interference”.