Huawei Remains Committed to Investing in the U.S. and Being a Global Technology Leader
Post by Bill Plummer
In November 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued a press release announcing the launch of an investigation into “National Security Threats Posed by Chinese Telecom Companies Working in the U.S.” Huawei was specifically called out by the Committee chairman as a so-called “800-pound gorilla.”
In December, Huawei met with Committee staff in Washington. In February, Huawei hosted Committee staff at our headquarters for a day-long meeting in Shenzhen, China. In May, Huawei hosted Committee members and staff for a briefing with our CEO Ren Zhengfei in Hong Kong. In July, Huawei responded to a list of Committee questions issued in June. In September, Huawei testified for three hours at a public Committee hearing. Later that month, Huawei responded to yet another list of Committee questions. All the while, Huawei’s D.C. office has engaged in regular day-to-day information sharing with the Committee, by email, by telephone, and in person.
Huawei’s goal in engaging with the Committee has been twofold: 1. correct misperceptions about our company; and 2. help the Committee better understand the global and interdependent nature of the ICT industry and the related and equally universal cyber concerns.
While Huawei has appreciation for the Committee’s underlying intent to address cyber threats, we believe that the narrow focus on companies with a Chinese heritage has been an unfortunate distraction from addressing the real, global and industry-wide challenges we face. And, while Huawei interacted with the Committee in good faith over the last 10 months, it is now clear — based on the Committee report issued on Oct. 8 — that the Committee did not in turn conduct a fair, impartial or objective investigation.
The report — a tired rehashing of unsubstantiated myth, innuendo and suggestion — is unfortunate, but it changes nothing in terms of Huawei’s integrity, the security of our products, and the global industry-wide cyber challenges facing government and industry alike. The facts are that Huawei’s operations and the performance, quality and security of our products are trusted and world-proven across 140 markets, by over 500 operator customers. The report utterly ignores these facts, and essentially dismisses the 10 months of open and interactive information sharing between Huawei and Committee staff and members.
Committee claims of Huawei non-responsiveness should be considered in the context of the facts. The Committee’s list of questions issued on June 12 would have required Huawei to publicly disclose the confidential business information of our American suppliers and partners and the personal and private information of our employees. As the Committee well knows, no responsible company would respond to such requests, which fly in the face of common and responsible business practices and law.
Huawei recognizes that there are geopolitical and trade tensions between the U.S. and China, the latter our country of headquarters. But, as an independent employee-owned multinational company doing business in almost 150 markets and deriving 70% of its revenues outside of our country of headquarters, Huawei should be treated as a global business leader regardless of country of origin.
To suggest that Huawei would compromise its commercial success or the integrity of our customers’ networks in the interest of some government is absurd; it flies in the face of commercial realties. To suggest that Huawei could somehow engage in some sort of conspiracy to infect its own equipment to disrupt or penetrate networks is equally ridiculous. Hundreds or thousands of conspirators would have to be involved and silent, something that our end-to-end “many eyes and many hands” security assurance disciplines are specifically designed to prevent.
The Committee’s report ignores realities and truths and has produced no evidence to suggest any wrongdoing— past, present or future—on Huawei’s part. With that in mind, holding Huawei hostage to a geopolitical agenda is anti-competitive and anti-American, and to the detriment of U.S. jobs, investment, innovation and affordable and ubiquitous broadband.
Notwithstanding its perpetuation of unfortunate misinformation, the Committee’s report does not change the facts… and the facts are that Huawei is an established and trusted global partner, and the quality, integrity and security of our solutions are world-proven. Indeed, nothing has changed. And, with this investigation and report behind us, Huawei remains committed to working with public and private stakeholders across the globe to address such cyber challenges in a constructive, commercially rational and non-political manner.
Bill Plummer is vice president of External Affairs for Huawei USA.