Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Chinese telecom giants hit back at US allegations

 US blacklists China's tech giants 

 VIDEO: US BLACKLISTS CHINA’S TECH GIANTS CCTV News - CNTV English



US lawmakers have alleged so-called security threat from Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE. The two Chinese tech companies have denied such allegations.

But the U.S. House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee said it will release findings of a nearly year-long investigation of the alleged security risk on Monday local time.
Huawei and ZTE have had a tough time in the US, and now, it’s going to get even tougher.
The black listing of the two Chinese tech giants, comes amid U.S. allegations that the companies are involved in economic espionage and could pose a risk to the country’s telecommunication infrastructure.
A draft report by the House Intelligence Committee dominated by the Cold-War thinking, says the two firms "can’t be trusted" to be free of influence from the Chinese government and could be used to undermine US security.
In response, China’s foreign ministry has warned the US not to harm the interests of both countries.
Hong Lei, spokesman of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, "Investment by China’s telecommunications companies in the United States showed the countries have mutually beneficial relations. We hope the US will do more to benefit the interests of the two countries, not the opposite."
The firm’s top executives appeared at a hearing held by the panel last month, stressing that they were focused on business, not politics.
Charles Ding, Huawei Vice President, said, "It would be immensely foolish for Huawei to risk involvement in national security or economic espionage."
Zhu Jinyun, ZTE Vice President, said, "Would ZTE grant China’s government access to ZTE telecom infrastructure equipment for a cyber attack? Mr. Chariman, let me answer emphatically: no!"
Both Huawei and ZTE have rejected the allegations that their expansion in the United States poses a security risk and have denied any ties with the Chinese government.
Huawei said that it was "globally trusted and respected."
Although being the second largest telecom equipment maker in the world, the company has already had to drop several of its attempts to expand in the US -- due to allegations from U.S. lawmakers. 

US report accusing firms of being security threat sparks angry denial


Two telecom giants rejected as "baseless" the findings of a US congressional investigation that accused them of posing a national security risk.

The allegations indicated growing commercial disputes between China and the United States, especially in the high-tech sector, trade experts said.

Huawei Technologies Co, the world's second-largest telecom equipment manufacturer in terms of revenue, described the US congressional report as containing "dangerous political distractions” from normal business practice.

"Baseless suggestions purporting that Huawei is somehow uniquely vulnerable to cyber mischief ignore technical and commercial realities, recklessly threaten American jobs and innovation, do nothing to protect national security, and should be exposed as dangerous political distractions from legitimate public-private initiatives to address what are global and industry-wide cyber challenges,” Bill Plummer, Huawei's US vice-president of external relations, said in an e-mail to China Daily.

The US House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee said that Huawei and ZTE Corp, the world's fifth-biggest telecom gear maker, should be excluded from the US market because they pose a security threat.

ZTE urged the committee to extend equal treatment to all telecom equipment makers because "most or all US telecom equipment is made in China, including that provided by Western vendors”, it said in an e-mail to China Daily.

China hopes the US will "respect reality, discard biases and improve economic relations between China and the US, not vice versa”, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Monday.

The report, which came amid rising trade disputes between the two countries, surprised experts.

"The report is not just about economic issues, but goes further with guesswork about alleged conspiracy," said Huo Jianguo, director of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation Institution. "It has obvious political intentions because displaying a tough attitude to Chinese companies may help win more votes with a presidential election campaign going on,” he said.

More trade disputes are likely to happen in the advanced industries like telecommunications, compared to low-end manufacturing, as Chinese companies move up the value chain and expand globally, Huo said.

There has been an increasingly large number of trade investigations into Chinese exports, led by the US, since 2009.

The committee launched a security probe into the two companies in November. In May, a congressional delegation, including some of the committee members, went to China where they met Ren Zhengfei, Huawei's board chairman, and the top management of ZTE.

On Sept 13, Charles Ding, Huawei's corporate senior vice-president, and Zhu Jinyun, ZTE's senior vice-president for North America and Europe, testified at the House committee hearing. This was the first time the Chinese telecom companies had the chance to communicate with US authorities in public.

In an interview after the hearing, Zhu told reporters that, due to different social and cultural backgrounds, there was one thing he felt difficult to explain to Americans: the relationship between the government, the Communist Party and the enterprise in China, especially when many Congress members still harbor a Cold War mentality and know little about China's development.

"ZTE really understands American concern about cyber security, but we expected more constructive solutions from the US government to address the issue instead of just finger-pointing,” Zhu said.

In a draft of the report made available to Reuters, the panel leaders said that US intelligence must stay focused on efforts by Huawei and ZTE to expand in the US and tell the private sector as much as possible about the purported espionage threat.

"US network providers and system developers are strongly encouraged to seek other vendors for their projects," it said.

The report is likely to have an impact on Huawei and ZTE, both of which are expanding aggressively overseas to fuel growth, said analysts.

"The two companies have been trying to build a larger presence in the US market but failed, and the report is likely to make their business in the US even harder,” said Xiang Ligang, a Beijing-based industry specialist and president of industry website cctime.com.

The companies may find it more difficult to win deals with US telecom carriers and their mobile phone business will be affected, he added.

Huawei, which ranks only after Sweden's Ericsson in the global market, conducts 70 percent of its business outside China. It reported sales of $1.3 billion in the US last year.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Huawei is preparing for a public offering, but the company denied the report later. ZTE has a smaller footprint in the US, mainly through sales of devices like smartphones. Its sales in the US were $30 million last year.

The document cited what it called long-term security risks associated with the companies’ equipment and services but it did not provide detailed evidence, at least not in an unclassified version.

A classified annex provides "significantly more information adding to the committee's concerns,” the draft said.

Based on classified and unclassified information, Huawei and ZTE, "cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the US and to our systems”, it said.

CBS aired a segment on Huawei on Sunday evening during 60 Minutes. The committee's chairman Mike Rogers told the program's host Steve Kroft: "If I were an American company today, and I’ll tell you this as the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and you are looking at Huawei, I would find another vendor if you care about your intellectual property, if you care about your consumers’ privacy, and you care about the national security of the United States of America.”

Plummer, the only person from Huawei who appeared on the show, insisted that Huawei is a company just doing business.

The company's "$32.4 billion in revenues last year” was obtained from "150 different markets, 70 percent of our business is outside of China. Huawei is not going to jeopardize its commercial success for any government, period”, he told Kroft.

By TAN YINGZI in Washington and CHEN LIMIN in Beijing 
Contact the writers at tanyingzi@chinadailyusa.com and chenlimin@chinadaily.com.cn
Reuters contributed to this story.

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