UK government reportedly strips out Huawei kit

The security of Huawei equipment is again being questioned, with reports that the UK government is stripping offices of video conferencing equipment supplied by the Chinese vendor.

A Huawei spokesman told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper its video conferencing kit is safe because it complies with relevant global security standards, and reiterated previous statements that Huawei is not linked to the Chinese government.

Indeed, the vendor is intent on improving global cyber security, the spokesman said.

Huawei regards Europe as a core market, and is investing heavily in the region. To date it has opened 13 research and development facilities in countries including France, Germany and the UK, and has established a finance centre in the UK.

The reports about further UK government concerns come just over a month after Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei revealed the firm has exited the US network equipment market, following years of accusations the firm is supplying sensitive information to the Chinese government.

However, the exit has not spelled the end of US government scrutiny. Earlier this month lawmakers in the country reportedly began pressuring South Korean cellco LG+ to drop an infrastructure deal with Huawei, claiming the tie-up may endanger US troops stationed in South Korea.

The security of network gear from Huawei has been under scrutiny for some time, with the bulk of concerns focussed on chief executive Zhengfei's former service with China's military.

Despite the attention, though, Huawei has grown to become the world's largest vendor of RAN equipment – a position it maintained through the third quarter of 2013 with a 28.1 per cent market share, according to ABI Research. The research firm notes Huawei's third-quarter market share is down 3 percentage points on the second quarter of last year, but up 3.8 per cent year-on-year.

The Chinese vendor still has hopes its handsets will fare well in the US market. William Plummer, Huawei's vice president of external affairs, last week told sister publication FierceWireless that the company will look to build on strong demand for its low-tier smartphones in the market, by working closely with domestic carriers and retailers.

For more:
- see this Telegraph article

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