Huawei hits back at 'groundless' security concerns

Mobile World Congress technology conference comes amid vocal concerns by governments about cybersecurity and Chinese spying

Richard Yu, chief executive officer of Huawei Technologies Co., presents the MediaPad M5 tablet device during the company's launch event ahead of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018. At the wireless industry’s biggest conference, more than 100,000 people are set to see the latest smartphones, artificial intelligence devices and autonomous drones exhibited by roughly 2,300 companies. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
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Concerns about the security of Huawei Technologies’ handsets and network equipment are "groundless" and are part of a broader unfair view that Chinese companies can’t be trusted, said the chief executive Ken Hu.

The US relationship with Huawei has been fraught. Carrier Verizon Communications last month dropped plans to sell Huawei phones under pressure from the US government, according to people familiar with the matter.

"The view that a company headquartered in China cannot be trusted is problematic," Mr Hu, who is currently in the CEO role as part of a rotation of executives in the top job at Huawei, said in Barcelona on Monday. "Technology is a global value chain, and many components come from China as well."

The Mobile World Congress technology conference kicked off on Monday with flagship product unveiling and crowds flocking to Barcelona . For Huawei, the event comes amid vocal concerns by governments about cybersecurity and Chinese spying.

Cybersecurity concerns aren’t new though, and phones are just the latest lightning rod for a much broader conflict between the US and China that dates back more than a decade.


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"Some people, some of our competitors, are using political ways to try and kick us out of the US market - they can’t compete with us on the technology and innovation so they compete with us on the politics," Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer business, said on Sunday. "We’re independent from any country, any government. We’re not involved in politics."

To convince governments and potential customers, Huawei is open to discussion, Mr Hu and Mr Yu said. The company, based in Shenzhen and privately owned, is hoping it can appease concerns by showing a track-record as the world’s third-biggest handset maker and a rival to Ericsson and Nokia in network equipment.

"It may not be fair if 30 years of track-record are disregarded based on groundless suspicions," Mr Hu said. "We’ve had a successful 4G experience -- we’re happy to conduct open discussions."