As the arrest of the company’s chief financial officer captures global headlines, Huawei held a rare public press conference in its headquarters in China to fight back against allegations that the company’s equipment could open the door for Chinese espionage.
“There isn’t any evidence that Huawei poses a threat to national security to any country,” Ken Hu, one of Huawei’s four deputy chairmen, told reporters during the event, according to The Wall Street Journal. “We welcome any open dialogue with anyone that has legitimate concerns. “ … But we will firmly defend ourselves from any ungrounded allegations and we won’t allow our reputation to be tarnished.”
Added Hu: “When it comes to security, we need to let the facts speak for themselves, Huawei’s record on security is clean,” according to Mobile World Live.
At the press event, Huawei pledged to spend $2 billion over the next five years to focus on cybersecurity
Huawei’s efforts come amid increasing global turmoil for the company. A number of countries have moved to ban the company from selling its equipment there, while operators including BT, SoftBank and Deutsche Telekom are reportedly reconsidering the use of Huawei equipment for 5G.
Hu, for his part, noted that Huawei is on track to generate $100 billion in revenue this year, up from $87.5 billion in 2017, and has signed 25 5G commercial contracts. He said the company has already shipped more than 10,000 5G base stations.
But those developments follow the arrest of Huawei’s CFO—the daughter of the company’s founder—in Canada due to requests from U.S. officials, who are looking to extradite Meng Wanzhou to the U.S. as part of an investigation into Huawei’s alleged use of the global banking system to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran. Meng was recently released on a $7.5 million bail.
Although Huawei has not been able to sell equipment or smartphones to the major wireless network operators in the U.S., a large number of small and regional wireless network operators do use equipment from Huawei. Further, they have been arguing forcefully that Huawei should not be banned completely from the U.S. market.
Indeed, the Rural Wireless Association in the U.S. recently said it believes fully a fourth of its membership currently uses equipment from Chinese suppliers like Huawei.