Huawei employs more lobbyists in the EU than Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple, but spends less
- Huawei has the full-time equivalent of 19 lobbyists on payroll in the EU, where it is fighting policies curbing its ability to provide 5G infrastructure
- The tech sector spends more on lobbying on the continent than any other, including pharmaceuticals, fossil fuels, finance and chemicals
The Shenzhen-based company has the full-time equivalent of 19 lobbyists on its payroll, followed by Facebook with 14 and Microsoft with 7.5, according to a report released by the Corporate Europe Observatory and Lobbycontrol on Tuesday.
However, despite bringing more lobbyists on board, Huawei still falls behind in overall lobbying spending compared with US tech giants Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple. The US also has more companies than anywhere else lobbying the EU on digital policy, accounting for 20 per cent of the 599 identified by the report.
Out of all those companies, “less than 1 per cent have head offices in China or Hong Kong,” the report said. “In spite of the exponential growth of the Chinese tech market, Chinese firms have so far not invested in EU lobbying quite as heavily as their US counterparts.”
Most companies in the digital platforms and information and communications technology infrastructure industries have just one person trying to influence European digital policy.
In total, the tech sector spends 97 million euros (US$114 million) on lobbying EU institutions each year and employs 1,452 lobbyists. This is more than any other sector, including pharmaceuticals, fossil fuels, finance, and chemicals, according to the report.
Since adopting the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2016, EU policymakers are doubling down on regulating tech companies with two more related pieces of legislation.
Lawmakers are currently discussing the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act. The former targets illegal content, opaque advertising practices and disinformation, while the latter aims to curb the influence of digital platforms that behave as gatekeepers.
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