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Huawei Not Leaving U.S., Just Pulling Back

Last week 69-year-old founder and CEO of China-based Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, told French journalists in a rare interview that due to the strains between China and the United States, and because of the accusations made by U.S. lawmakers that Huawei is somehow tied to China, the company is supposedly exiting the North American market.

"If Huawei gets in the middle of U.S-China relations [and causes problems], it's not worth it," Zhengfei reportedly said. "Therefore, we have decided to exit the U.S. market, and not stay in the middle."

The news isn't surprising. The North American market could be seen as hostile given how federal regulators have tried to block the spread of Huawei's equipment in the United States, and how lawmakers have convinced many U.S. firms to stop doing business with the China-based company. Huawei's desire to possibly throw in the towel due to the strains on the local market isn't really anything new.

The big fear with local lawmakers and regulators is that Huawei's networking products will have secret backdoors built in so that Chinese officials can spy on Americans. Just over a year ago, Rep. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, suggested that U.S.-based businesses find a vendor other than Huawei and ZTE, that the installation of their equipment could be disastrous.

"We have to be certain that Chinese telecommunication companies working in the United States can be trusted with access to our critical infrastructure," Rogers said in a public announcement. "Any bug, beacon, or backdoor put into our critical systems could allow for a catastrophic and devastating domino effect of failures throughout our networks."

So does that mean Huawei giving up on America? No. "Given the U.S. carrier equipment market environment, Huawei is prioritizing its carrier business on markets that are open to competition, innovation and investment," Huawei spokesman William Plummer told AllThingsD in an email interview.

"We remain committed to our customers, employees, investments and operations and more than $1 billion in sales in the U.S., and we stand ready to deliver additional competition and innovative solutions as desired by customers and allowed by authorities," Plummer added.

For the record, Zhengfei didn't say that Huawei was shutting down its offices in the United States or ending a specific line of business. According to Foreign Policy, the company CEO even admitted that its mobile phone business was doing well here in the States.

  • MKBL
    "The big fear with local lawmakers and regulators is that Huawei's networking products will have secret backdoors built in so that Chinese officials can spy on Americans."

    This implies that US equipment company may have created backdoor on their products in other countries. The lawmakers and regulators may reason like, if we can and do it, why not they? I'm not saying US is in err, but simply analyze the possible reality. International politics is becoming even more brutal than domestic infighting. Even scarier, since this time, most likely the consequences will be unprecedented one.
    Reply
  • ahnilated
    Well, why should we worry about trusting them when we can't even trust our own government ?
    Reply
  • sonofliberty08
    in other words, Cisco's networking products will have secret backdoors built in so that NSA can spy on the World.
    Reply
  • vmem
    12106080 said:
    "The big fear with local lawmakers and regulators is that Huawei's networking products will have secret backdoors built in so that Chinese officials can spy on Americans."

    This implies that US equipment company may have created backdoor on their products in other countries. The lawmakers and regulators may reason like, if we can and do it, why not they? I'm not saying US is in err, but simply analyze the possible reality. International politics is becoming even more brutal than domestic infighting. Even scarier, since this time, most likely the consequences will be unprecedented one.

    oh it's entirely possible (and likely). how do you think these people get elected? by being law-abiding, honest citizens? That hasn't really happened since the founding fathers passed
    Reply
  • cream
    yet again the yanks barking but aint they doing the same thing one wonders who are the cowboys
    Reply
  • spartanmk2
    We're not retreating, we're advancing in the opposite direction!
    Reply
  • ahnilated
    12106480 said:
    yet again the yanks barking but aint they doing the same thing one wonders who are the cowboys

    Silly, it is the men in the Cowboy Hats, sheez...
    Reply
  • sykozis
    12106091 said:
    Well, why should we worry about trusting them when we can't even trust our own government ?

    Exactly....
    Reply
  • heero yuy
    so let me get this straight...
    Huawei come in with what appear to be quite good products
    big companies in America don't like that so they bang on about Huawei and the Chinese government and backdoors (although I could just say NSA and backdoors to be honest) the result being Huawei backing out
    over here in England we have this thing called the competition commission that attempts to stop this stuff...
    Reply
  • rwinches
    ^^ They are still selling products here just not infrastructure equipment, which would lower line costs, and we can't have that.

    All this spying makes the salutation 'Dear Sirs,' take on a whole new meaning.
    Reply