It has been doing business for 16 years and was once promoted by China’s president in a meeting with a foreign leader, but even most Chinese people had never heard of Panda International until it was linked to a controversial telecoms project in Iran. Reuters reported on Tuesday that newly obtained records show Panda International, which was not named in a US indictment against Huawei Technologies for sanction violations involving Iran, was involved in acquiring hardware and software for Huawei’s wireless telecoms projects in the country. Two Huawei packing lists, dated December 2010, included Hewlett Packard computer equipment that was destined for delivery to Iran’s mobile telecoms carrier, internal Huawei documents reviewed by Reuters showed. Another Huawei document, dated two months later, stated: “Currently the equipment is delivered to Tehran, and waiting for the custom clearance.” Some of the documents suggest Huawei regularly used Panda International to ship equipment to customers in Iran as well as Syria. Last July, a report from The Washington Post also revealed the close relationship between Huawei and Panda, accusing Huawei of using Panda as the conduit to provide North Korea with base stations, antennas and other equipment. A call made Tuesday to a mobile telephone number listed on Panda’s website went unanswered. Documents show Huawei role in shipping prohibited US gear to Iran In 2014, the US Department of Commerce added Panda International to its Entity List, which blocked the company from buying American-made technology. The DoC said Panda International may have attempted “to export items to destinations sanctioned by the United States,” but made no mention of its relationship with Huawei at that time. Information on Panda’s website points to a relationship between the two companies dating back to 2007. The two companies have cooperated on projects in different countries involving multiple products, according to the website. Established in 2004, Panda International Information Technology Co is controlled by state-owned Panda Electronics Group Co, and produces military and mobile communication products. Panda International said on its website that it has “become a stable and reliable strategic partner of Huawei” and specialised in international economic and technological cooperation and international trade. The company also noted that it was licensed by the Chinese government to “distribute foreign aid”. A search in Chinese and English for media coverage on Panda showed that the company’s senior management, including its president Sun Suhui, rarely speak to the press. Huawei pushes US to release files on HSBC and Meng Wanzhou The four news releases posted on its website in the past two years are all related to Huawei. The latest news release is from March last year when Panda announced it had been invited to attend the Huawei China Eco Partners Conference where it was named an “outstanding partner” and “obtained exclusive meetings” with Huawei senior management. A separate news release said Panda remained the top distributor of Huawei’s smart photovoltaic business in 2018. In 2017, Panda International attended Expo Cuba, displaying more than 50 products including TVs and radios. However, its business relationship with Cuba dates back much further, according to information on its website – in 2001, then Chinese president Jiang Zemin introduced Panda’s products in a meeting with the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who showed strong willingness to import TVs from China. Over the following two years Panda sold 1.3 million TVs to Cuba. In a statement issued in response to the Reuters story linking Huawei to Panda, a Huawei spokesperson said the company could not comment due to ongoing legal proceedings. “Huawei is committed to comply with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries and regions where we operate, including all export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US, and EU,” the spokesperson said. Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.