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Mobile security

Nearly Everyone Trusts Us – Huawei CEO

LONDON -- Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum -- Huawei is a supplier and partner that is trusted the world over, with "cybersecurity" concerns hampering the company's further growth in only a few markets, the vendor's acting CEO Eric Xu stated Tuesday.

Answering questions from Light Reading about the impact that security concerns may have on the company's further potential growth, Xu said that "most countries trust Huawei... that's a trust that comes from 20 years of doing business." He added that "cybersecurity" was an issue only "for a few countries."

That would be Australia and the US in particular. (See Australian Govt Confirms Huawei Ban, US vs Huawei/ZTE: The Verdict, and China Lashes Out at 'Cold War Mentality'.)

Clearly, though, the security issue is on everyone's minds, though different countries deal with it in different ways: Some have gone as far as to check out Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.'s gear before allowing deals to be struck, while others have undertaken security reviews. (See Huawei Clears Danish Security to Oust Ericsson, Euronews: Tension Rises Over UK Security Report, and Euronews: EU Threatens China Probe.)

Will the security concerns (justified or not) hamper Huawei's ability to grow further in the telecom network security sector? Xu said only that it was hard to tell "how bright the future will be," but he took the opportunity to have some fun when asked if Huawei could increase its market share further.

"We dare not win more market share as we have to consider the balance in the industry," quipped Xu during the question and answer session that followed his keynote address. (See Huawei CEO Pledges 5G R&D Investment.)

Huawei has diversified in recent years into enterprise networking technology and boosted its position in the smartphone market in a bid to increase its sales potential. In July the vendor reported a 10.8 percent increase in revenues to 113.8 billion Yuan Renminbi (US$18.7 billion) for the first half of 2013. (See Huawei Juggernaut Rolls On.)

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

[email protected] 11/6/2013 | 8:18:25 AM
Has debate changed? This was a Huawei event mostly (it seemed) for existing Huawei customers (of which there were very many in attendance), so apart from the Q&A opportunities the issue of security was not on the agenda.

BUt I wonder if, in light of the ongoing revelations that pretty much every country is spying on each other anyway (especially if they are friends, it seems), using whatever means they can muster, whether the perception that using Chinese networking equipment makes any difference to real-world security concerns any more? (devil's advocate question, of course...)

A completely objective analysis of the situation would suggest that, given that Huawei and ZTE gear is deployed in nearly every country in the world (and their handsets, which increasinly are extensions of the network, will soon be very broadly deployed), most countries either

-- do not perceive the presence of Chinese technology in their public communications networks to be a security threat

-- they don't understand the potential security threat that could come from any communications networking equipment (wherever it comes from)

-- they don't care.

It's clear, of course, that what matters just as much as anything else is perception, driven often by politics. For Huawei, countering that perception might be its toughest challenge of all in the markets where the 'cybersecurity' issues are still a barrier to business. 
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