Prime Minister Julia Gillard told Huawei to “seek opportunities to grow its commercial business in Australia, and to continue to forge partnerships with Australian companies and educational institutions”. Photo: AFP
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has met with controversial Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, which the government banned from working on the national broadband network, as part of her wide-ranging delegation to China this week.
Huawei global chairwoman, Sun Yafang, met with Ms Gillard on her final day in China as they jointly launched a scholarship program which would see Australian students work at the vendor's headquarters in Shenzhen.
"Huawei is committed to forging long-term business, community and education partnerships that will benefit the Australian people and the economy," Ms Sun said in a statement. "We're working with the Australian ICT industry to provide opportunities for local businesses to integrate into our global supply chain."
According to a spokesman for Huawei, the Prime Minister told Ms Sun to "seek opportunities to grow its commercial business in Australia, and to continue to forge partnerships with Australian companies and educational institutions".
The company has had a strained relationship with the government since it was banned from tendering for work on the NBN over security concerns.
Huawei global board member Chen Lifang told The Australian Financial Review last year that the decision to ban the vendor was confusing to both the company and its prospective clients. It has not appealed the ban, however.
"Nine countries are setting up national broadband networks," Ms Chen said. "Huawei is providing infrastructure to eight of them."
She said Huawei wanted to be treated as a normal business able to operate in all parts of the Australian IT industry.
The company has 700 staff in Australia and major contracts with mobile carriers SingTel Optus and Vodafone Hutchison Australia.
Ms Gillard is in China this week as part of Australia's largest ever business delegation to the country. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, was also in China earlier in the week, but left prior to the meeting with the vendor.
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