In short: Huawei and ZTE are a “clear threat” to the Western world, according to Mick Hagen, CEO of decentralized app platform Mainframe. In an interview with AndroidHeadlines, the industry veteran asserted “it’s well established that major tech firms in China do not operate with any independence of the government,” pointing to Nortel as an example of a massive Western firm going out of business due to trade secret theft that’s widely suspected to have been sponsored by Beijing. In a span of less than a decade, Nortel went from being the largest telecom equipment maker on the North American continent to bankruptcy, with numerous security experts suggesting Huawei was likely stealing its proprietary technologies with targeted hacks. “Huawei’s rise tracks perfectly with Nortel’s collapse, which left pensioners, shareholders, and former employees with enormous losses,” Mr. Hagen recalled.
Background: Huawei often argued it’s an employee-owned company that isn’t any more susceptible to being controlled by Beijing than Western companies are prone to government interference and in some ways, it’s correct, according to the Mainframe CEO. “Telecom companies in the U.S. are fully complicit with the mass surveillance of the U.S. government,” the executive asserted, pointing to the 2016 presidential election as evidence that power quickly changes hands even on the world’s largest political stage and no one can be certain their rights and wellbeing won’t “fall in the crossfire of national interests” while being part of such a rapidly changing landscape. “We shouldn’t need to trust that this power won’t be abused. Simply put, these mechanisms with enormous potential for abuse shouldn’t exist,” Mr. Hagen concluded. Credible reports about U.S. government surveillance go well beyond Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing efforts from 2013 and continue emerging to this date.
Impact: Washington is unlikely to change its position on Huawei and ZTE anytime soon, especially following the latter’s disastrous fallout with the Commerce Department that took a personal intervention from President Trump to save it from bankruptcy. All telecom companies from China are hence expected to continue being blocked from doing large-scale business in the country for the time being and maintain their claims that the U.S. government doesn’t allow for fair competition, a sentiment that officials from the Far Eastern country themselves repeated on numerous occasions in recent years. Critics of Beijing are quick to call for China to allow the likes of Ericsson and Nokia to enter its telecom market if healthy competition is all it’s concerned about, with both sides hence remaining at an impasse.