Despite facing a wide variety of issues in the West, Chinese technology juggernaut Huawei is still enjoying strong growth across the board and expects to continue expanding its business in a sustainable manner moving forward, rotating Chairman Ken Hu said at a recent press conference held in the company's Shenzhen headquarters. The industry veteran acknowledged the rising mistrust of Huawei in the West but responded to the issue in a much more amicable manner than some of its colleagues did in previous months, though he still didn't miss an opportunity to dare foreign governments distrustful of the company to show any evidence suggesting it poses a security threat in terms of spying or any other kind of malicious activity.
No rest for the accused
"We will not rest," Mr. Hu said regarding a broad range of allegations that Huawei poses a security threat to the West, with those accusations being particularly widespread in the United States. The 50-year-old used the same press conference as yet another opportunity to reiterate Huawei has a positive track record with cybersecurity solutions throughout its 31-year history and never gave its (potential) clients in the West a reason to doubt them. While the Chairman said he's disappointed with the mistrust Huawei is now facing from the U.S. and its allies, the firm intends to continue with its overall business strategy and attempt to approach doubters in an amicable manner. Among other things, that philosophy will require additional investments in its cybersecurity efforts which are set to amount to some $2 billion over the next half a decade, the veteran executive said.
Mr. Hu believes the best course of action for Huawei is to encourage governments to start communicating with it more openly as it can otherwise hardly address concerns regarding its products, security-related or otherwise. Getting Western administrations to actually do so is much more challenging, especially as Washington is now increasing the pressure on its allies to drop Huawei's equipment, as well as technologies from other Chinese firms. The bulk of the argument against the Far Eastern country's wireless sector is that Beijing's harsh censorship and surveillance laws allow it to easily force any domestic company to yield access to client data or spy on its customer base. Huawei, ZTE, and some other Chinese firms previously argued the U.S. administration could feasibly do the same to its own companies, though the stateside regulatory framework still provides much more protection from the government to any entity, domestic or otherwise, at least in the context of broad information requests.
The future is wide open, though not really
Mr. Hu sees the future of the tech industry bring a lot more openness in regards to hardware and software development and hopes that trend will help Huawei establish healthier communications with distrustful governments. Opponents of the company's aggressive expansion efforts are still quick to point out that many of the issues it faced in recent decades are its own doing and range from trade secret theft and corporate espionage to a deliberately opaque ownership structure and suspicious ties to the communist government that go all the way up to its founder Ren Zhengfei, a former engineer and official of the People's Liberation Army. That troubled history with the West is one of the main reasons why Washington isn't keen on trusting Huawei anytime soon, especially as the company's name keeps popping up in less-than-optimal circumstances; e.g. earlier this month, Canadian authorities arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on a request from the stateside Justice Department which is suspecting her of setting up a Hong Kong satellite and defrauding banks with the intention of violating U.S. trade sanctions against Iran.
So, even as key technologies across a variety of segments are now becoming more open and the global tech industry is warming up to the idea that security through obscurity is no security at all, Huawei's long-standing issues with the West will likely keep getting in the way of its ambitions to become the world's largest phone maker after already rising to the top of the telecom equipment market. The company is presently more comfortable in the European Union where it already signed a number of 5G supply contracts with wireless carriers, though it also ended up being ditched by Deutsche Telekom, a key wireless player on the Old Continent that concluded it cares about combining its U.S. subsidiary with Sprint more than it does about maintaining a positive working relationship with the Chinese firm, also after experiencing pressure from Washington.