The Strategist

Is Huawei related to Chinese intelligence?

12/11/2018 - 11:29

Founder of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, built an outstanding career in the People’s Liberation Army of the PRC before creating the telecommunications giant, writes Asia Times.

Kārlis Dambrāns
Kārlis Dambrāns
Ren Zhengfei's contacts were helpful in setting up the company. Cheap loans from state-owned banks helped Huawei expand at first after Ren founded the company with the capital of 21,000 yuan (about $ 4,400 at the time) of his own money in 1987.

At that time, former and current members of the People’s Liberation Army were expanding in big business, as China opened up to the world through economic reforms carried out by Deng Xiaoping.

There are concerns that Zhen’s “family business” is too closely linked to the Chinese government. Huawei has repeatedly denied such allegations.

"Huawei has nothing to do with cybersecurity issues that the United States faced in the past, present or in the future," said Ren in an interview with Chinese media five years ago.

Nevertheless, Washington is trying to convince the provider companies of the allied countries to stop using Huawei equipment.

This week, Japan banned government procurement of equipment from Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and another Chinese company, ZTE Corp.

In November, the New Zealand authorities banned local telecommunications company Spark New Zealand from using Huawei equipment in a new 5G network.

In August, Huawei and ZTE banned the supply of technological equipment for 5G mobile networks to Australia for national security reasons.

In addition, the British telecommunications company BT Group last week announced that within two years it will get rid of Huawei equipment from the main 4G network. BT Group also said that it will not allow the Chinese company to participate in bidding on contracts for the supply of equipment for use in its main 5G network.

Meanwhile, Huawei last week agreed with requirements of British intelligence to eliminate risks in its hardware and software, as the company seeks to become part of plans to develop 5G in the UK, the Financial Times newspaper wrote on Friday.

Last week, daughter of Ren Zhengfei, chief financial officer of Huawei Wangzhou Meng, was arrested in Canada. She faces extradition to the United States in the case of a violation of US sanctions against Iran, which could undermine the fragile truce in the trade war between Washington and Beijing.

On Friday, the Chinese newspaper The Global Times accused the United States of "unworthy hooliganism." The China Daily has written that Washington "is trying to do everything possible" to "hold back the expansion of Huawei."