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Huawei Chairman Warns Company May Pull out of Unwelcoming Markets

Ross Kelly

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Huawei Cyber Security

Liang Hua said Huawei may relocate operations to countries in which the company is “welcomed”.

Huawei chairman Liang Hua has suggested the firm could pull out of western countries if restrictions continue to hamper the company’s operations.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Liang said Huawei may relocate operations to countries in which the company is “welcomed” and insisted that the firm adheres to regulations wherever it operates.

If the company continues to face barriers in certain countries, Liang said it would “transfer the technology partnership to countries where we are welcomed and where we can have collaboration with”.

Huawei is a world-leading telecoms infrastructure manufacturer, providing mobile network equipment for a host of European countries, including the UK.

The firm has been subject to intense scrutiny of late due to fears its hardware could be used for spying by the Chinese Government.

Concerns over security have prompted a reaction from governments in the UK, United States, Canada, Australia and Germany.

Read more: Huawei Cyber Security Risks Raised in UK Gov Report

BT confirmed last month that equipment manufactured by Huawei would be removed from the core of communications systems currently being developed for emergency services in the UK.

More recently, the University of Oxford has suspended all new donations from the company. In a statement, the University said it would “not pursue new funding opportunities at present” with the firm.

“Huawei has been notified of the decision, which the university will keep under review. The decision applies both to the funding of research contract and of philanthropic donations,” the University said.

“The decision has been taken in light of public concerns raised in recent months surrounding UK partnerships with Huawei.”

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In December Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder was arrested in Canada and faces extradition to the United States amid allegations that the company ignored US sanctions against Iran.

Liang said there must be a “quick conclusion” to the affair.

Huawei has repeatedly denied links to the Chinese Government and says it is still committed to investing in UK telecoms infrastructure. Liang insisted that any potential withdrawal from the UK would be based on whether or not consumers are comfortable using the company’s technology.

“We will focus not just on countries but on where we are welcomed by customers. Because ultimately customers have the choice to make decisions,” he said.

Liang added that the “UK is the market that advocates openness and also free trade.”

People concerned by Huawei’s involvement in infrastructural projects, Liang said, were “welcome” to visit the firm’s laboratories in China.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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