Facing the collapse of its Indian business, Huawei Technologies plans to take the unprecedented step of revealing details of its shareholders and ownership structure.
Huawei executive vice president Xu Zhijun and Asia-Pacific chief Wang Shengli flew to New Delhi yesterday to meet Indian communications and security officials in an effort to stave off a ban on Chinese telecom equipment imports.
To demonstrate that the company is not owned by the PLA, they will show details on how its ownership is divided among its 61,500 staff, India’s Economic Times newspaper reported today.
If so, it would be the first time that the secretive company has revealed information about its shareholders to a foreign government.
In its attempts to expand into North America, Europe and Australia in recent years privately-held Huawei repeatedly has been confronted with claims that it is linked to the PLA. It has said that it is owned by its employees but has never released any data on its owners.
Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei is a former PLA officer who established the company with other ex-officers in Shenzhen in 1987.
India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has asked Indian cellcos not to buy gear from Huawei or ZTE and has said that it will not grant a security permit for Chinese equipment.
India’s home ministry believes that Huawei is closely associated with the Chinese military and has warned that Chinese and other foreign vendors may be installing backdoors or malware into their equipment.
It has banned Indian operators from deploying Chinese equipment in New Delhi or sensitive border areas in northern and north-east India.
Separately, Huawei is also holding out the carrot of investment of up to $500 million (€384.6 million) in a new plant in Chennai, according to the Business Standard.