Australian Govt Confirms Huawei Ban
Huawei's run of positive news in hard-to-crack western markets has skidded to a halt.
Just two weeks ago, CEO Ren Zhengfei scored a meeting with UK Treasurer George Osborne as the company announced a $200 million UK research facility, despite a UK government security review of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. 's contracts with BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA).
Osborne even allowed himself to be photographed with Ren, whose PLA background makes Huawei a security threat, US intelligence agencies have claimed.
Last week, Huawei called a media briefing with Denmark's TDC to reveal it had been successfully vetted by Danish intelligence, allowing it to clinch a $700 million services contract with the firm. (See: Huawei Clears Danish Security to Oust Ericsson.)
Just as promising for the Chinese vendor, the new Australian government has been making noise about ending Huawei's exclusion from the publicly funded NBN project.
The communications minister described Huawei as "a credible business," while the trade minister, who is currently negotiating a free-trade agreement with China, said the company had a "big future" in Australia. Huawei Australia chairman John Lord said in China last week that the company was "waiting to find out" if the ban would be lifted.
But those hopes have been dashed. Australia's Attorney General George Brandis has affirmed the ban that had been placed by the previous government in early 2012 on security grounds, reportedly prompting "shock and dismay" from Chinese diplomats.
Huawei has not responded to requests for comment. China's foreign affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying called for both sides to work together create a "fair environment" for business.
— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading