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Charles Yang, President for Huawei Middle East, commented on the US allegations deeming them to be unfounded and reaffirms the tech behemoth’s commitment to value creation with local telecom, enterprise, and government partners.
Despite the challenges posed by a US entity list ban, Huawei’s top executive in the Middle East said at a press conference in Oman that the region’s geographic location is strategically beneficial for the company in the way that it works closely with both governments and the private sector to advance security, collaboration, and innovation for the digital era.
The comments by Charles Yang, President of Huawei Middle East, come at a time when Huawei remains the world’s largest telecommunications-equipment manufacturer, a top global smartphone and smart device brand, and a digital solutions provider to thousands of companies in sectors like finance, transportation, energy, and government.
Within the region, ICT is also becoming a national basic infrastructure as technologies like 5G, AI, and cloud computing act as drivers for digital transformation.
According to Yang, Huawei has been leading 5G expansion in the Middle East as part of the first wave of deployments worldwide, and will focus on vertical industry, ecosystem, and 5G talent development in 2020. This has been powered by investments of USD4 billion in 5G research since 2009.
The company is also bringing its 5G OpenLab concept to the Middle East, providing the local ICT sector with an environment in which it can experience, innovate, and verify the latest 5G applications with operators and partners.
“The downward pressure on many regional economies and even the global market has intensified in 2019 and the start of 2020. All of us need to dig deep into the opportunities presented by digital transformation. Most organizations across the Middle East now recognize the value that can be created by this transformation, and as such, it is a key region for Huawei in terms of technology collaboration, innovation, and developing business models suited to the digital era,” said Yang.
As a result of its R&D investment focus, Huawei has been able to lead the deployment of 5G technologies globally with more than 700 cities and 228 Fortune Global 500 companies having chosen Huawei as their digital transformation partner. As part of its efforts to lead new technology ecosystems, Huawei also recently released its Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) Core 4.0 platform, marking an important milestone for Huawei in building a set of applications and services for its consumer device ecosystem.
Central to its R&D strategy has been a long-term knowledge transfer program to develop talent in the Middle East, for the Middle East, according to Yang. That requires technology leaders working with customers, partners, developers, industry alliances, and standards organizations to build an interdependent ecosystem that fosters shared growth.
For its part, Huawei's flagship ‘Seeds for the Future’ program and annual ICT Competition program will continue in the Middle East in 2020 and support creativity among ICT students to increase national competitiveness.
Alongside 5G innovation and talent development, Yang recognized that cybersecurity does remain a vital issue for the region’s ICT industry.
When asked about the challenges posed to Huawei specifically by the current US administration, Yang responded, “Our Rotating Chairman, Eric Xu, recently observed that some state actors may continue to suppress the development of leading technologies. They are choosing to build walls rather than connecting people and ideas. Despite concerted efforts by some to keep us down, I think many of us feel a renewed sense of purpose and value at Huawei.”
He added that Huawei is only an equipment supplier and that accessing customer networks without their authorization and visibility would be impossible. On a practical level, Huawei does not have the ability to bypass carriers, access control, and take data from their networks without being detected by all normal firewalls or security systems.
“Today cybersecurity is an issue for all countries, governments, and companies. It is also a journey—not a destination. As such, we need measures in place applying to telecom operators and equipment suppliers so that there is an objective, verifiable basis for knowing which products and services are worthy of the public’s trust. Our customers and us see this as a strategic priority,” added Yang.
The executive noted that Huawei has long committed to helping partners in the region to address cybersecurity challenges and has been a partner of choice for telecom carriers for 5G network development through a broad range of end-to-end solutions. Yang also said that Huawei is ready to sign no-spy, no-backdoor agreements with any and all entities in the Middle East region.
In the last few months, Huawei has been approved to continue supplying 5G technologies in markets such as the UK and the European Union, with countries like Germany and France also accepting Huawei 5G despite US pressure. Abraham Liu, Huawei Chief Representative to the EU Institutions, has confirmed that Huawei is working with European governments to develop common standards to strengthen the security and reliability of those networks.
Huawei has also confirmed that it has no cooperation with the company Crypto AG. A recent report by the Washington Post noted that the CIA used Crypto AG to covertly access telecom networks worldwide, spying on other countries for decades.
Australia cybersecurity expert Hank Wolfe has also documented how the US National Security Agency rigged encryption systems sold by Crypto AG, enabling the agency to read the coded diplomatic and military traffic of more than 120 countries.
The UK has finally approved a limited role for Chinese telecoms giant Huawei in the country's 5G network, but underscored that "high risk vendors" would be excluded from "sensitive" core infrastructure.
The United States wanted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ban Huawei completely, arguing that Beijing could use the company’s equipment to spy on western counterparts. Huawei has strongly denied any involvement in espionage.
London's decision, following a meeting of the National Security Council chaired by Boris Johnson, came shortly after Brussels said it would allow Huawei a limited 5G role in the European Union.
"We want world-class connectivity as soon as possible but this must not be at the expense of our national security," Britain's Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said in reference to high-speed fifth generation networks that offer almost instantaneous and reliable data transfer.
"High risk vendors never have been and never will be in our most sensitive networks," she added.
Huawei’s VP welcomed news that it would have at least a limited role in building Britain's high-speed fifth generation networks, after Washington lobbied hard for the company to be sidelined completely on security concerns
"Huawei is reassured by the UK government's confirmation that we can continue working with our customers to keep the 5G roll-out on track," said Huawei Vice-President Victor Zhang.
"This evidence-based decision will result in a more advanced, more secure and more cost-effective telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future."
Unlike the United States, Britain has been using Huawei technology in its systems for the past 15 years. Johnson insisted that the UK can have "technological progress" while preserving national security. Huawei is widely viewed as providing the most advanced alternative for super-fast data transfers behind technologies such as self-driving cars and remotely operated factory robots.
Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecom giant and daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei, was detained in the Canadian city on a US warrant in late 2018. Her arrest put the 47-year-old at the center of the US and China's battle over Huawei's growing global reach. Hearings into whether she can be extradited to the United States will begin on January 20 in Vancouver, in a case with potential repercussions for ties between the US, China and Canada.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said it will accept public comments until Feb. 3 on its determination that China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp pose national security threats.
In a document published by the FCC, it reports that interested parties can submit responses on Huawei and ZTE’s designation, which aims to prevent money from the US Universal Service Fund being used to purchase kit from companies deemed a national security risk.
“The FCC adopts a rule that prospectively prohibits the use of Universal Service Fund funds to purchase or obtain any equipment or services produced or provided by a covered company posing a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain.”
As the Commission stated in the Protecting Against National Security Threats Notice, the promotion of national security is consistent with the public interest, and USF funds should be used to deploy infrastructure and provide services that do not undermine national security.
In November, the FCC voted unanimously to bar U.S. rural wireless providers from availing of an $8.5 billion government fund to purchase Huawei or ZTE telecommunications equipment.
Last month, Huawei filed a petition with the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court in New Orleans challenging the FCC decision. The FCC will review public comments before finalizing the designations on Feb. 3.
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against video sharing app TikTok by a university student in California who claims that the app has been collecting large amounts of private user data and storing it in China.
China blasted as "economic bullying" a US proposal to block service providers buying from Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE. The two Chinese vendors have been accused of posing a threat to national security because of their ties to the Beijing government.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said that the proposed rules were part of an initiative to "safeguard the nation's communications networks".
FCC chairman Ajit Pai also said: “We cannot ignore the risk that the Chinese government will seek to exploit network vulnerabilities in order to engage in espionage, insert malware and viruses, and otherwise compromise our critical communications networks”.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang slammed the US proposal as an attempt to "oppress certain Chinese businesses with groundless accusations".
"The United States' economic bullying goes against the market principles which the US has always trumpeted," he said.
The proposal, to be voted on November 19, marks the latest effort by Washington to further damage Huawei’s global reputation. Huawei says that US has provided no proof of any security risks posed by the company.
"In 30 years of business, Huawei has never had a major security-related incident in the 170 countries where we operate," the statement said.
"Banning specific vendors based on country origin will do nothing to protect America's telecommunications networks."
In May, Washington said it would blacklist Huawei from the US market and from buying crucial US components, though it has twice extended the company 90-day reprieves, the latest coming in August.
The United States has expressed concern that Huawei equipment could contain security loopholes that allow China to spy on global communications traffic, and has pressured US allies to block the use of Huawei equipment.
Russian mobile operator MTS has launched a 5G zone at VDNKh (All-Russian Exhibition Center), one of Moscow’s major attractions. Equipped by Huawei and functioning on the 28GHz and 4.9GHz frequency bands, the network became operational on Thursday.
It will test so-called Smart City technology, designed to improve security and urban services management, as well as helping to develop Moscow’s transport system.
The agreement between MTS and Huawei was signed in June during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
5G is speeding up the development of self-driving vehicles in Moscow together with other future technologies, according to Eduard Lysenko, Head of the city’s Department of Information Technology: “Moscow is looking into the implementation of telemedicine and IoT technologies in city services which require a secure and fast connection”.
While the super-fast network is currently available around only one of the pavilions in the VDNKh complex, the pilot zone is expected to expand and cover almost the whole of the VDNKh area by 2020.
Owners of 5G-capable smartphones will be able to enjoy super-fast internet connections after the network’s commercial launch, as the first phone connected to the network demonstrated an internet speed of 1.2Gbps. This means it will take around one minute to download a full HD movie.
Moscow’s first 5G zone was launched earlier this month and covers the famous Tverskaya Street. Swedish telecom company Ericsson provided the equipment for the network, which is run by Russian mobile operator Tele2. By the end of this year, Moscow is expected to have four pilot zones, each operated by one of Russia’s four major telecom providers.
Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith says the way the U.S. government is treating Huawei is un-American. As far as he knows, China’s leading maker of networking equipment and mobile phones should be allowed to buy U.S. technology, including software from his company.
Tech titan Huawei has revealed its plans to deploy high-speed wireless internet in a number of remote, underserved communities in the North of Canada.
The Chinese tech firm has planned to deploy mainly 4G technology. This comes amid Huawei and the US’s controversial relationship. The US has imposed sanctions on the company as they have deemed the company a potential threat to their national security. Also, Canada and China are still in the midst of a diplomatic crisis concerning the detention of a Huawei executive.
Huawei has revealed that it will partner with Ice Wireless and Iristel to ensure that the rural communities will be connected by 2025. They also stated that alongside the remote areas of northeastern Quebec and Newfoundland & Labrador, around 25 communities in Nunavut territory would also benefit from the deployment.
“We strongly believe that everyone should be connected to 4G LTE, no matter where they live in Canada, even in areas where high-speed service may not be economically viable,” said President of Huawei Canada, Eric Li.
Huawei officials have stated that they will deploy wireless internet in some of the coldest places on earth, which are located in Canada.
VP of Ice Wireless and Iristel, Jean-Francois Dumoulin, said, “We need to use highly reliable, world-class equipment to minimize physical intervention and to avoid outages that risk making our communities isolated once again. That’s why we partner with Huawei Canada.”
In fact, this comes as the US has been pressuring its allies to avoid using Huawei to deploy their 5G networks and have claimed that Huawei has links to the Chinese government and may partake in cyber-espionage on their behalf. However, there has been no proof of this allegation being true.
Also, Canada and Huawei have also been at odds due to the arrest of Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Neng Wanzhou, in December in Canada at the request of the US. Washington believes that she committed fraud by violating Iran sanctions and lying to US banks about it, which is why they want to put her on trial for fraud charges.
President Donald Trump and China's Xi Jinping agreed to a truce in their trade war, and Washington pledged to hold off on new tariffs while they negotiate As the United States and China pursue trade talks, there is a “good chance” that more US firms will be granted licenses to sell products to controversial Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said.
While Trump had signaled the softer position on Huawei, a sticking point in trade talks, by saying US companies could sell equipment “where there's no great national security problem,” Kudlow added a bit of detail.
Trump told Fox News Channel's “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that after meeting with Xi, he believes the two sides are closer to a trade deal.
“We had a very good meeting. He wants to make a deal. I want to make a deal. Very big deal, probably, I guess, you'd say the largest deal ever made of any kind, not only trade,” the president said, according to a transcript released by the channel.
Many US lawmakers, including Senate Republicans like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, are concerned about any lifting of the effective ban against Huawei accessing crucial American technology or operating in the US market.
“If President Trump has agreed to reverse recent sanctions against Huawei, he has made a catastrophic mistake,” Rubio tweeted.
Kudlow emphasized that Huawei will remain on the so-called US Entity List- foreign companies and individuals that are subject to specific export and technology transfer licensing requirements.
“This is not a general amnesty,” Kudlow said. “The Commerce Department will grant some temporary additional licenses where there is a general availability” of the products to be sold, he added.
On the general issue of US-China trade talks, Kudlow declined to offer any deadline for the resolution of the dispute between the world's top two economies, though he admitted the talks could “go on for quite some time. There are no promises, there's no deal made, no timetable. Just resuming the talks... is a very big deal.”