Global politics mire Huawei situation
Wed, 10 Oct 2012 8:31a.m.
Eager to expand in the United States, China's biggest technology companies face an America anxious about threats to jobs and national security.
The latest blow: A US report that says telecom equipment makers Huawei Technologies Inc. and ZTE Corp. are potential security threats that Americans should avoid doing business with.
The report, coming amid an American presidential race in which trade tensions with Beijing are a prominent issue, highlights conflicting US sentiments toward China, an important trading partner but a potential strategic rival. US companies see China as both a crucial growth market and a source of competition and industrial spying.
The US report’s concerns about Huawei has caused a bit of a stir in New Zealand too because the Government has contracted the company to help with rolling out broadband initiatives here.
Huawei, founded in 1987 by a former Chinese military engineer, has grown into the world's biggest supplier of network gear, competing with Nokia Siemens Networks and Sweden's Ericsson AB.
The New Zealand Government says it takes security very seriously, but Paul Brislen of the Telecommunications Users Assocation of New Zealand says even if it had similar concerns to the US, the Government would find it near-impossible to block the Chinese company which has built the 2degrees mobile network, and also has involvement in the Ultrafast Broadband Initiative and Rural Broadband Initiative.
“I think a lot of these security concerns are just trade protectionism from the US,” he told Firstline this morning, “I do think that their evidence is rather flimsy… It really doesn’t have any meat behind it at all.”
Last year, Huawei was forced to rescind its purchase of a small California computer company, 3Leaf Systems, after a US government security panel rejected the deal.
The report Monday by the House Intelligence Committee said US companies should avoid doing business with Huawei and ZTE and recommended regulators block them from buying US companies. It said government computer systems should not include components from them because they might pose an espionage risk.
Mr Brislen says the local situation is not as clear-cut. Australia, which has also voiced similar concerns about Huawei to the US, is a major security partner, while the National-led Government has been forging ahead as it attempts to improve trade relations with China, which is seen as a major market for Kiwi exporters.
“To unpick Huawei from New Zealand at this stage you’d have to presumably shut down the 2degrees network, you’d have to get them out of Vodafone where they use the fixed line network, Telecom has been selling handsets, you’d have to roll back the UFB and RBI projects, it’s a big mission at this point and potentially for very little gain,” he says.
China's government rejected the report as false and an effort to block Chinese companies from the US market.
"The Chinese side expresses its serious concerns and strong opposition," Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said in a statement Tuesday. He called on the United States to "abandon the practice of discrimination against Chinese companies."
3 News / AP
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11/10/2012 12:00:02 a.m.
Trade and compatibility issues wrote:
Two issues here. The first being trade interests. Huawei has been supplying very, very, cheap mobile devices to New Zealand sellers that undercut many other products. The second issue revolves around how difficult it is for the US to monitor networks linked to Huawei devices. If US agencies are having difficulties monitoring communications sent via Huawei devices (for whatever reasons including platform peculiarities and software compatibility issues) then US agencies will have an interest in discouraging those devices from populating the market. Nothing indicates China is particularly interested in what New Zealanders text to each other, meanwhile the Megaupload incident suggests US agencies are extraordinarily interested in communications within New Zealand.
10/10/2012 4:30:12 p.m.
I trust the Chinese, I plan to never ever go to america. I dislike america.
10/10/2012 12:53:36 p.m.
The US have more to fear from Apple than from any Chinese firms. It is clearly a smoke screen to hide protectionist activities. Global economy and free trade is a scam which will shut down in a few years because of similar activities by other governments.
10/10/2012 12:26:57 p.m.
The report is incorrect. It was a Chinese military - intelligence - officer that set Huawei up and now we are entrenched in a system that China can tap into all communications. When will we learn that China is at totalitarianism communist state (never) with all corporations run and owned by the state. The cell phones we uses are traceable and made by workers barely paid to live, e.g. FOXCOM corporation workers strike, that make your iPhones etc. As for the US they have already sold companies or major shares in companies so what’s new. “the New Zealand Government says it takes security very seriously”, ha ha too late. The US previously rejected Huawei and many US corporations are owned or have major shareholdings by China's communist state so what will be new.
10/10/2012 12:15:09 p.m.
The fuss is all about US politicians guarding US company opportunities. We are all tired of the nonsense surrounding Dotcom. as far as I am concerned US or Chinese spooks? All as bad as each other.
10/10/2012 11:51:29 a.m.
Even if this were true, I'm sure that the Chinese wouldn't be doing anything the Americans haven't already done, and are probably still doing.I think there are plenty of people out there that would probably trust the Chinese before they'd trust the Americans.
10/10/2012 10:37:41 a.m.
well, of course the Chinese are going to say that regardless of the reality. might be true or not.
and the US is pretty much untrustworthy in any situation where they stand to make money for their large corporations (they'll happily screw over their partners and thus sabotage their own chances of making MORE money simply because following through on the un-sabotaged plan means the partner gets a greater percentage, not realising it's not a zero sum game)
best response is to utterly ignore both of them and look into it properly ourselves and go from there.
'course, that'd cost Money which wouldn't be going into the pockets of foreign investors so probably won't happen. or at least, not properly.
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