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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 is already being aggressive in its international expansion," Mr Anderson said.

"Look at India. Does that mean that the Indians can get access to Huawei's secret laboratory? No."

Philip Dalidakis, a former senior staffer to Senator Stephen Conroy, former Minister for Communications, told IT Pro Huawei would only enter the US or Australian markets if it broke nexus with the Chinese government.

"The only way for Huawei to be able to resolve this is for them to be able to move their headquarters or publicly list the whole organisation away and out of China," said Mr Dalidakis, now principal with consulting firm SCG Advisory.

Mr Dalidakis also fired a broadside at Australian politicians for underestimating potential national security risks by politicising the government's ban on Huawei's proposed role with the NBN rollout.

"Huawei is perceived to be a national security threat - in the US it is one of the few issues that has significantly drawn bipartisan support," he said. "The approach by politicians in America to the perceived threat is far more sophisticated to what we have yet to see in Australia.

"When it became public knowledge that the government had rejected advances by Huawei to rollout the broadband infrastructure, we had some members of the coalition question that decision.

"Whether or not those questions were based upon briefings they had received by our national security agencies or not, I can't detail [but] I think it would be naive to suggest they are doing it for their own patriotic or trade issues."

Mr Dalidakis said the members of Huawei's Australian board - which includes former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, ex-Victoria Premier John Brumby, and John Lord, who served for 36 years in the Royal Australian Navy - faced difficult challenges.

"On face value, it is a fantastic board," Mr Dalidakis said. [But] it is appropriate to note that they are all at the end of their careers and not at the beginning."

In addition to having former politicians on its board, the company also sponsors the Canberra Raiders NRL team, a move that guarantees its name in the Canberra media regularly.

"We're excited to have the Huawei logo front and centre on the Raiders jersey for another big season," the company's corporate affairs director Jeremy Mitchell said when renewing the contract last month.

Huawei and the Raiders have submitted a joint proposal to the NRL regarding a game in China in 2014. The company said it was ''holding informal discussions with a range of stakeholders to build momentum behind the plan''.

"As China's most successful global company, Huawei would love to see Shenzhen Stadium filled with our 65,000 China-based staff - with all of them backing the Raiders!," Mr Mitchell said.


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