Huawei – actions louder than words

China’s Huawei is now the world’s largest telecom maker, having overtaken Ericsson last year.  It is a $32-billion business with 140,000 employees, and customers in 140 countries. It has a reputation for delivering high-quality telecoms equipment at low prices.

It is also believed – by some – to be a puppet of the Chinese military.

Hidden dragon

Hidden dragon

Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei served as an engineer in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).  And governments are highly anxious of the rapidly evolving cyber threat.

The FT reports that Huawei now plans to disclose detailed financial and shareholding information in attempt to allay fears over suspected ties to the Chinese military which have hampered its global expansion.

A report last August in The Economist described the efforts Huawei have gone to to convince the world of its peaceful intentions.  The fear is that the company is are building networks that allow eavesdropping during peacetime, and which could be shut down suddenly during wartime.

Could the firm be another weapon within China’s cyber-arsenal?

Intriguingly in the UK Huawei has established a unit run in close co-operation with GCHQ (Britain’s signals-intelligence agency) with security-cleared personnel, including former employees of GCHQ, to vet gear from China before it is installed.

Which would seem to be a very tangible way to address some of the reputation issues that Huawei is facing.  Actions, after all, speak louder than words.

Let us know your thoughts about this post

Leave a reply.