Monday 23 September 2019

Q&A: Company's global rise hit by fears over links to state

The Huawei logo at a shopping centre in Beijing (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)
The Huawei logo at a shopping centre in Beijing (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)

Huawei is the world's largest supplier of telecommunications network equipment and second-biggest maker of smartphones, with revenue of about €92bn last year.

Unlike other big Chinese tech firms, it does much of its business overseas and is a market leader in many countries. It was founded in 1987 by former military officer Ren Zhengfei. It describes itself as employee-owned and is based in southern China.

How did it become so successful?

Huawei was a pioneering supplier of telecom gear at a time when China was upgrading its networks and began competing internationally in the 1990s.

Competitors branded it a cut-rate vendor of copycat equipment, but it spent heavily on R&D and is now regarded as a global leader.

Why have some governments banned Huawei equipment?

US intelligence agencies allege Huawei is linked to China's government and that its equipment could contain 'backdoors' for use by government spies. Firms are also legally bound to assist the state. The firm has repeatedly denied the claims, but suspicions persist.

Concern now centres on the deployment of fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks, where Huawei is at the cutting edge.

However, most governments, including in the West, have never placed restrictions on Huawei.


Irish Independent

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