Huawei reiterates state espionage denials

Huawei has categorically denied allegations that it allows Chinese authorities to spy through its networks.

The Chinese ICT multinational is currently banned from selling to several federal departments in the US and Australia, and a number of UK government departments recently instructed staff to stop using its videoconferencing equipment, due to concerns about possible security vulnerabilities.

However, Huawei’s head of international media affairs Scott Sykes said that the company has "an impeccable track record" regarding security.

He explained: "Sixty-five percent of our business comes from outside [China]. There's no evidence that we have ever facilitated Chinese state spying. If we were ever proven to have done anything on behalf of Chinese government, if we ever allowed state espionage through our networks, we would put 65 percent of our revenue at risk. It would be corporate suicide."

The Chinese multinational, which operates in over 100 countries and has 150,000 employees, was founded in 1987 by ex-military officer Ren Zhengfei. It kept the majority of its business operations behind closed doors for much of its existence but today it is aiming to be more transparent.

Huawei has arguably faced the most opposition from the United States, which is deeply concerned that the Chinese firm is building backdoors into its equipment that could be used by the Chinese government to spy on US communications.

However, Sykes restated Huawei's commitment to selling there, saying: “We're committed to the US market and continue to be so. We started working there in 2001 and provide technology to tier two and three carriers.

"We're very bullish about the prospects for our tablets, smartphones and other consumer devices in the US. We're ready, willing and able should we be able to compete freely and fairly there. The issues we've had are not about Huawei in particular but geopolitics over our heads."

He also swatted away claims that the company is treated favourably by the Chinese state, saying: "We're here today because we compete vigorously. We have had no special treatment [from the Chinese government]."

According to Skyes, Huawei does not provide military grade equipment or research and development services to China's government. He said that the company provides standard commercial equipment only.

Before setting up Huawei, Zhengfei worked as a military technologist for the People’s Liberation Army. He retired from the army in 1982 and moved to Shenzhen, where Huawei is now headquartered.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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