(Yicai Global) June 20 -- Huawei Technologies, the world's biggest producer of telecoms equipment, has labeled as 'ill-informed' an Australian government claim that the Chinese firm poses a security risk, an allegation that could further chill relations between the two countries.
Australian authorities may stop Huawei from participating in the country's rollout of a 5G mobile network amid concerns the Chinese government controls the Shenzhen-based firm and sensitive data infrastructure could fall into Beijing's hands.
"Recent public commentary around China has referenced Huawei and its role in Australia and prompted some observations around security concerns," Huawei Australia Chairman John Lord and his board of directors wrote in an open letter. "However, many of these comments are ill-informed and not based on facts."
This is not the first time that Huawei has come in for criticism from the Australian government. In 2012, the country banned it from supplying products for a National Broadband Network project, while the firm was blocked from laying an internet cable between Australia and the Solomon Islands last month.
Relations between the two countries have been frosty since late 2017, when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull accused Beijing of interfering in his country's domestic affairs. China's ambassador in Canberra yesterday said the Australian government needs to exercise "less bias and bigotry," while Turnbull blamed the media and political rivals for hyping up the situation.
Australian authorities have yet to respond to a request for comment regarding Huawei's letter.
Huawei also asserted that it operates in 170 countries as an independent company, abiding by the laws of each one. The enterprise has supplied over half of Australia's 4G equipment, Yicai Global learned. The government scrutiny over Huawei will undoubtedly affect the company's 5G business expansion in Australia.
The company has offered to build an evaluation and testing center in the country as part of Huawei Australia's 5G proposal to ensure independent verification of Huawei's equipment in Australia, it added.
Editor: William Clegg