Embattled Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has agreed to British intelligence demands over its equipment and software as it seeks to be part of the country’s 5G network plans, the FT reported Friday.
Huawei executives met senior officials from Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), where they accepted a range of technical requirements to ease security fears, according to the FT’s sources.
The NCSC said in a statement that it was “committed to the security of UK networks, and we have a regular dialogue with Huawei about the criteria expected of their products.
“The NCSC has concerns around a range of technical issues and has set out improvements the company must make,” it said.
The Chinese telecoms provider has come under scrutiny over the last few weeks, with one of its executives arrested in Canada last Friday on a US extradition request, raising fears of an escalation in the trade war between China and the US.
Beijing called the arrest of chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou a “despicable rogue’s approach” and part of a campaign to stymie China’s high-tech ambitions.
Over the summer, Australia barred Huawei from providing 5G technology for wireless networks over espionage fears.
New Zealand followed suit in November but said the issue was a technological one.
Britain’s largest mobile provider has also joined the global ban.
On Wednesday, BT announced it was removing Huawei’s telecommunications equipment from its 4G cellular network, following a warning from the head of the MI6 foreign intelligence service that singled out the Chinese company as a potential security risk.
But Robert Hannigan, former head of the GCHQ intelligence agency that deals with cyber-security, on Friday warned of “hysteria” over Chinese technology.
“My worry is there is sort of a hysteria growing… we need a calmer approach,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
British intelligence agencies have not “reported a backdoor or malicious intervention” by Huawei, and any official criticisms so far are of “incompetence rather than malice,” he added.
But he warned that 5G presented a different challenge given that more data is processed locally, making it harder to keep tabs on.
Chinese state-run media on Friday condemned the arrest in Canada of a top executive of telecoms giant Huawei on a US extradition request as a “despicable rogue’s approach” to contain Chinese high-tech ambitions.
The arrest of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, has angered the Chinese government and raised concerns that it could disrupt a trade war truce between the world’s two biggest economies.
“The Chinese government should seriously mull over the US tendency to abuse legal procedures to suppress China’s high-tech enterprises,” said the nationalist tabloid Global Times in an editorial.
“Obviously, Washington is resorting to a despicable rogue’s approach as it cannot stop Huawei’s 5G advance in the market,” it said.
The China Daily warned that “containing Huawei’s expansion is detrimental to China-US ties.”
US authorities have not disclosed the charges she faces following a publication ban sought by Meng, but “one thing that is undoubtedly true and proven is the US is trying to do whatever it can to contain Huawei’s expansion in the world simply because the company is the point man for China’s competitive technology companies,” the daily said.
Though China’s technology sector is still reliant on certain US exports like microchips, Beijing wants to transform the country into a global tech leader — with a technological prowess rivalling the United States — in a plan dubbed “Made in China 2025”.
Huawei is one of the world’s largest telecommunications equipment and services providers. Its products are used by carriers around the world, including in Europe and Africa.
But its US business has been tightly constrained by worries it could undermine American competitors and that its cellphones and networking equipment, used widely in other countries, could provide Beijing with avenues for espionage.
Australia, New Zealand and Britain have followed suit this year by rejecting some of the company’s services over security concerns.
Chinese netizens have criticised Meng’s arrest on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, where online trolls sometimes deliberately incite nationalist fervour or pro-government stances.
Some users viewed the incident as part of the trade war — and a broader conspiracy to keep down China’s technological development.
“One of the most important reasons why the US started the trade war was to attack China’s technology sector and its ‘Made in China 2025’ plan,” wrote one Weibo user.
The goal is to keep China stuck in “low-end industries and force China into the middle-income trap.”
The detention of Meng appears to be a “game of politics”, wrote another user.
The Huawei executive’s arrest follows a US probe into the company’s alleged violations of Iran sanctions.
Earlier this year, another Chinese tech firm ZTE nearly collapsed after Washington banned US companies from selling crucial hardware and software components to it for seven years, though the ban was lifted after it agreed to pay a $1 billion fine.
A top executive and daughter of the founder of Chinese telecom giant Huawei has been arrested in Canada and faces extradition to the United States, officials said Thursday, angering Beijing days into a trade war truce with the US.
The detention of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, comes after American authorities reportedly launched an investigation into suspected Iran sanctions violations by Huawei, which was already under scrutiny by US intelligence officials who deemed the company a national security threat.
The arrest stirred tensions just as the United States and China agreed to a ceasefire in their trade spat while negotiators seek a deal within three months.
News of her detention rippled through stock markets in Asia, particularly Shanghai and Hong Kong, with tech firms among the worst hit. By lunch, Shanghai was 1.3 per cent lower while Hong Kong was 2.6 per cent off.
“China is working creatively to undermine our national security interests, and the United States and our allies can’t sit on the sidelines,” US Senator Ben Sasse in a statement linking the arrest to US sanctions against Iran.
“Sometimes Chinese aggression is explicitly state-sponsored and sometimes it’s laundered through many of Beijing’s so-called ‘private’ sector entities that are in bed with (President) Xi (Jinping)’s communist party,” he added.
Meng was arrested in the western city of Vancouver on December 1, Canada’s ministry of justice said in a statement.
The ministry said the US is seeking her extradition and she faces a bail hearing on Friday, adding it could not provide further details due to a publication ban that was sought by Meng, whose father, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, is a former Chinese People’s Liberation Army engineer.
The arrest occurred on the same day that US President Donald Trump and Xi struck the trade war truce at a summit in Argentina.
China’s embassy in Ottawa demanded Meng’s release.
“The Chinese side firmly opposes and strongly protests over such kind of actions which seriously harmed the human rights of the victim,” the embassy said in a statement.
“The Chinese side has lodged stern representations with the US and Canadian side, and urged them to immediately correct the wrongdoing and restore the personal freedom of Ms Meng Wanzhou.”
Huawei said it was unaware of any wrongdoing by Meng and was provided “very little information” about the charges.
“Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US and EU,” the company said in a statement.
The Wall Street Journal reported in April that US Department of Justice had opened an investigation into suspected violations of Iran sanctions by Huawei.
The New York Times said the company had been subpoenaed by the Commerce and Treasury Departments over alleged violations of Iran and North Korea sanctions.
Huawei is not the first Chinese telecoms equipment firm to face the ire of US authorities.
Earlier this year, the US imposed a seven-year ban on the sale of crucial US components to Chinese smartphone maker ZTE after finding it had failed to take action against staff who were responsible for violating trade sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
The ban nearly killed the Chinese tech company, which said it was forced to cease major operations in May.
A month later, Washington and Beijing reached a deal that would strike ZTE from the sanctions list — just days after China reportedly offered to ramp up purchases of American goods to help cut the yawning trade imbalance with the US. American officials denied any connection between the two.
In exchange, ZTE agreed to pay a hefty $1 billion fine and put an additional $400 million in escrow in case of future violations. It was also ordered to replace its board of directors and retain outside monitors.
The case showed that China is highly dependent on imports of US-made semiconductors or computer chips and reinforced Beijing’s need to become self-reliant on this key technology.
Huawei is one of the world’s largest telecommunications equipment and services providers.
But despite global success, its US business has been tightly constrained by worries it could undermine American competitors and that its cellphones and networking equipment, used widely in other countries, could provide Beijing with avenues for espionage.
In May, the Pentagon said that devices from Huawei and ZTE posed an “unacceptable” security risk. Personnel on US military bases are banned from buying equipment manufactured by the Chinese tech firms.
Over the summer, Australia barred Huawei from providing 5G technology for wireless networks in the country over espionage fears.
New Zealand followed suit in November but said the issue was a technological one.
Britain’s largest mobile provider too has joined the global ban on Huawei.
On Wednesday, BT announced it was removing Huawei’s telecommunications equipment from its 4G cellular network, following a warning from the head of MI6 foreign intelligence service that singled out the Chinese company as a potential security risk.
Despite being essentially barred from the critical US market, Huawei surpassed Apple to become the world’s number two smartphone maker in the second quarter of this year.
The Cross River State Government and Huawei Technology of China, have both signed a Memorandum of Understanding to completely digitalise the state with a 3G and 4G network, thereby making Calabar Nigeria’s first smart city.
Asides providing 3G and 4G network connectivity, the contractor is also expected to provide fibre to homes, which will afford residents in the state the opportunity to download music, news, movies as well as research materials directly from their homes.
Signing the contract at the government house in Calabar, the State Governor, Ben Ayade, expressed excitement over the development, knowing that, the execution of the contract would herald the full digitalisation of Calabar and the entire state.
Ayade maintained that, the smart city project would ensure availability of cheap Wi-Fi services everywhere in Calabar.
“This will be the first time that data would be provided from the cloud. With this digital cloud, it will offer opportunity to get information with ease and comfort, including boosting research and academic works.
“The project is in partnership with Huawei of China, the equipment manufacturer, and Sino Infrastructure Development company Limited, as the technical partner in Nigeria for the project,” said Ayade.
He stated that “this partnership will provide cheap access to connectivity- Cross Riverians will know that Huawei is bringing the best technology to us. They are a known name in the world and a pace setter in the industry.
“Cross River deserves only the best which they have to offer,” he stated.
The whole state is going digital as the Cross River super highway will have super-connectivity, where all the best internet and technology services will be offered to users of the super highway.
Furthermore, Mr Ayade said “this will be the first fully smart city in Nigeria. Cross River will be the model for Africa and we are proud to be associated with this”.
Commissioner for ICT, Chief Offu Aya, said the importance of ICT development to any growing society, underscores the essence for the epoch making event which was witnessed by representatives from both countries.
“You have taken us to China to appreciate what Huawei has done in that country, a country with about 1.7 billion people, and how Huawei has turned China into a huge smart city and we have come back with a detailed report.
“Today is a very unique day for the ministry, as before the carnival, the pilot scheme will be ready where there will be free Wi-Fi services.
“This will make Calabar the first smart city in Nigeria, it will benefit Cross Riverians and Nigerians as it will make communication faster and easier,” Chief Aya stated.
In his response, the Managing Director of Sino Infrastructure Development Company, Mr Li Yamping, added that “Huawei and the Cross River Government will work as technical partners on the project and will both maintain the required standard and deliver as at when due”.
Chinese multinational company; a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider; Huawei Technologies has decided to invest 70 million (US$90.6 million) in the smartphone production industry which will span over a five-year period to establish a research and development centre in Helsinki, Finland.
And it is doing that with the aim of its first task being to build software for smartphones and tablets based on Android and Windows Phone 8.
At first, Huawei plans to recruit 30 employees for the centre, with the goal of hiring more than 100 people over five years, the company said in a statement on Monday and initial projects will focus on software development for smartphones, tablets and other types of devices, based on several OS such as Android and Windows Phone 8, Huawei said.
The company has yet to announce its first smartphone based on the latest version of Microsoft’s OS, but is expected to do so soon.
Huawei is currently the world’s fifth largest smartphone vendor in terms of unit sales and currently employs more than 7,000 people across Europe.
Huawei’s long-term plan is to break into the top three and is hoping to take advantage of Nokia’s continuing struggles to make that happen, according to Neil Mawston, executive director at market research company Strategy Analytics.
“Huawei is being a little opportunistic in that it knows there will be a lot of well-qualified Nokia people in the Helsinki area who will be looking for alternative employment,” Mawston said.
The Helsinki R&D centre will join an already established modem and technology design centre in Sweden and a user interface research centre in the U.K.
Huawei has a history of investing in the Nordic countries. Last year the company celebrated the tenth anniversary of its arrival in Sweden, which is the home country of Ericsson, its biggest rival in the mobile network sector.