Jealousy could be behind some of the criticism of Huawei in the West, the Chinese technology giant has suggested.
The firm said it had a “sound record” of cybersecurity and warned continuing “groundless suspicion” would damage the whole technology industry as it begins to roll out 5G, the next-generation communication technology.
Several countries have previously expressed concerns over Huawei’s involvement at the centre of 5G telecommunications infrastructure because of claims the firm could be compelled to assist in Chinese state intelligence work, something Huawei has repeatedly denied.
Speaking at the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen, Huawei’s chief marketing officer for wireless network products, Peter Zhou, said the firm’s security record spoke for itself.
“Huawei has had operations in more than 170 countries for the past three decades and has been maintaining a sound record of cybersecurity, and we have been benefiting from that tremendous record in continuously extending the business,” he said.
Zhou added that the company’s position as a market leader in developing 5G-ready infrastructure could be the real reason some countries were targeting it.
“Although we have been emphasising the co-operation and sharing, the leadership we have in 5G may cause some over-concern from certain parties,” he said.
“Purely overstating the 5G security issue or making hype on the news related to this issue rather than focusing on the technology standards or transparent and trusted research will not be beneficial to the future commercial success of 5G.”
He also reiterated that security was a key factor in everything the firm did, highlighting its work with the UK government in recent years. “Cybersecurity and privacy protection are the overarching priority of Huawei. And the company has recently announced that in the coming five years an additional US$2-billion dollars will be invested to further improve our software engineering capability so as to ensure that more trusted and reliable products will be developed.
“But apart from that, we are also willing — and will stay open and transparent — in co-operating with government agencies like the (UK’s) National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).”
Last week, the company sent a letter to the UK’s house of commons science & technology select committee reiterating its commitment to security, arguing that if it ever did engage in “malicious behaviour” it would “destroy” the business.
The Huawei executive added that the introduction of global security standards for the telecoms industry would provide “solid ground” to evaluate what was safe and stop the industry from living with “fear and concern all the time”.
He pointed to the UK’s Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) — a body linked to the NCSC and made up of Huawei and UK government officials as well as UK operators which track the company’s progress — as a model which could be replicated elsewhere.
“NCSC in the United Kingdom has done a lot of work for regional security standardisation and this can serve as an example for other countries in setting security requirements,” he said. “As technology progresses and applications diversify, we need such open and transparent co-operation mechanisms for us to be able to identify and rapidly solve problems.
“Facing strict scrutiny as a vendor is actually something that we are glad of because rapid innovation or improvement would be impossible without external stress. We in particular welcome discussion that is based on facts and driven by technological reasonability. However, groundless suspicion and conjecture is, on the one hand, a bit unfair on us, but on the other hand is not helpful for the telecom sector’s future with respect to 5G development.”