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Huawei in push to ease concerns over national security

Matthew Hall (via SMH) | Aug. 13, 2013
The Chinese technology giant has hinted at plans to decentralise and is aggressively pursuing a public relations strategy to overcome resistance to its suitability for government contracts.


Huawei's first local board was formed in Australia in June 2011. From the left: Jeff Liu, regional president; Chen Lifang, global director; Alexander Downer, independent director; John Brumby, independent director; Guo Fulin, Australia CEO with Ren Zhengfei, Huawei founder and CEO and John Lord, Australian Chairman in the front row.
Huawei's first local board was formed in Australia in June 2011. From the left: Jeff Liu, regional president; Chen Lifang, global director; Alexander Downer, independent director; John Brumby, independent director; Guo Fulin, Australia CEO with Ren Zhengfei, Huawei founder and CEO and John Lord, Australian Chairman in the front row.>Photo: Supplied

Chinese technology company Huawei has hinted at plans to decentralise and is aggressively pursuing a public relations strategy to overcome resistance to its suitability for government contracts.

But industry insiders say decentralisation is meaningless and will not ease national security fears in the US or Australia.

Huawei was set up in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei, a former Chinese military engineer, to sell imported telecoms equipment and later started to develop its own. The company says it is owned by its employees and denies it is controlled by the communist government or China's military.

While Huawei faces bipartisan political opposition in the US over its potential threat to national security, this is not mirrored in Australia, potentially opening the door to Huawei gaining access to the Australian government market with a change of government in September. The company was banned from doing NBN work last year.

Asked if Huawei had plans to move its headquarters from Shenzhen, China, or list on an international stock exchange, a spokesman told IT Pro that the company ''will move to decentralise its operations from China and spread the operations of the company across the world''.

While those moves could help ease some security concerns, the spokesman also referred to a recent news conference by CEO Ren who said the company had ''no plans to list in the next five to 10 years''.

Speaking through an interpreter, Mr Ren told reporters in NZ was confident no member of Huawei's staff would engage in spying, even if asked to by Chinese security agencies. The company has research and development centres in the US, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, India, Russia and Turkey.

The company already has research and development centres in the US, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, India, Russia and Turkey. A public listing in the US would go some way to address fears it is controlled by, or spies for, the Chinese government.

But Mark Anderson of Strategic News Service said that Huawei would not move its headquarters from China and even if it did "decentralise" it would likely never satisfy the demands of some country's security agencies.

 

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