Chinese tech giant ZTE on Thursday dismissed all espionage allegations raised against the company by U.S. Senators and intelligence community leaders earlier this week, saying such accusations are baseless and vowing to continue focusing on improving the overall security of its products offered in the United States. In a statement provided to Xinhua, a ZTE spokesperson said the firm is fully committed to justify the trust of its customers and is entirely compliant with any applicable laws and regulations in all foreign markets in which it operates, including the U.S. Besides doing business in a law-abiding manner, ZTE is also subjecting its hardware and technologies to “strict testing protocols” and is always aiming to operate in accordance with “the highest business standards,” the company concluded.
Half a dozen U.S. spy chiefs including the directors of the CIA, NSA, and the FBI on Tuesday testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee and claimed they would neither use smartphones from Huawei or ZTE or recommend private citizens to use them. The development was just the latest turn of events caused by the growing trade-related tensions between Washington and Beijing, some industry watchers believe. Earlier this year, two Senators proposed a bill that would effectively prevent government agencies from using any telecommunications equipment from Huawei and ZTE. Like the U.S. intelligence officials, the Senators cited spying concerns as the main motivation for preventing the firms from doing large-scale business in the country, highlighting their close ties with China as a cause for concern. Besides the two original equipment manufacturers, some U.S. lawmakers are also trying to prevent China Telecom from entering the country’s wireless infrastructure market, citing identical reasons.
Huawei was planning to boost its mobile business in the U.S. earlier this year through a partnership with AT&T, yet the phone maker saw its deal fall through at the last minute after the Capitol Hill pressured the wireless carrier into dropping it, threatening to take away its lucrative federal contracts. Without the backing of one of the four national telecom giants that account for the majority of annual smartphone sales in the country, Huawei has essentially no chance of penetrating the U.S. smartphone market to any significant degree.