Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, which has a number of operations in South Africa, as well as across the African continent, was the subject of a U.S draft Congress report which states that Huawei and counterpart ZTE (which also operates across Africa) should be prevented from operating in the U.S.
The report states that both companies could pose a security risk to the US, and “cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems.”
The report says that both companies are “dominant global players” in telecommunications and could pose a risk to internal security as they are involved in the manufacture of electronic components used in electric power grids; banking and finance systems; gas, oil and water systems and rail and shipping.
Huawei and ZTE are not the only ICT firms fingered in the report, but were described as posing the biggest threat, with the report adding that the Chinese government has the “means, opportunity and motive” to manipulate them into doing its bidding.
Huawei’s senior vice president Charles Ding refuted the report- “Huawei has not and will not jeopardize our global commercial success nor the integrity of our customers’ networks for any third party, government or otherwise,” he told the committee.
ZTE also defended itself, saying it “profoundly disagrees” with the claims of the report. “ZTE should not be a focus of this investigation to the exclusion of the much larger Western vendors.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei added that the companies in question operate according to market principles. “We hope the U.S. Congress will set aside prejudices and respect the facts, and also do more that is beneficial to Sino-American economic and trade ties, rather than the contrary,” he said.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor