23 Jan 2019

Huawei chairman warns of end to global 'partnerships'

2:28 pm on 23 January 2019

Chinese tech giant Huawei is warning it may withdraw from countries such as New Zealand if it continues to face restrictions.

Huawei logo. (File)

. Photo: AFP / Imaginechina

New Zealand, US, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Germany have all stopped Huawei from involvement in mobile phone projects for fear they are used by the Chinese Government for spying.

Huawei chairman Liang Hua told the World Economic Forum in Davos his firm might transfer technology to countries where it is welcome.

He also stressed that Huawei follows regulations wherever it operates.

Huawei makes smartphones but is also a world leader in telecoms infrastructure, in particular the next generation of mobile phone networks, known as 5G.

Security concerns

The company is banned from bidding for government contracts in the US, where intelligence services have raised questions about Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei's links to China's ruling Communist Party.

In November, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GSCB) turned down Spark's proposed use of Huawei equipment in its new 5G network because it says it would raise significant national security risks.

Huawei has always maintained that it is a private company, owned by its employees, with no ties to the Chinese government.

The company's top executives rarely give interviews, but a number of journalists were invited to ask questions of Mr Liang on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Mr Liang told them that if the company faced further hurdles to doing business in some countries, "we would transfer the technology partnership to countries where we are welcomed and where we can have collaboration with".

Mr Liang said anyone concerned would be "welcome" to inspect the firm's laboratories in China.

Even as the the storm surrounding Huawei continues to rage, Mr Liang's message was simple - the company's products would speak for themselves.

"We will focus on providing value by offering the high bandwidth ultra low latency and high connectivity [products] to out customers," he said.

In December, Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the founder of Huawei, was arrested in Canada and faces extradition to the United States over accusations the company flouted US sanctions against Iran.

Mr Liang called for a "quick conclusion" to the case, so that Ms Meng could regain "her personal freedom".

He also reiterated the company's claim that the detention of two Canadian nationals in China, seen by many as retaliation for the arrest of Ms Meng, "has no relation with Huawei".


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