Huawei Technologies on Tuesday said it would spend $2 billion over the next five years to focus on cybersecurity by adding more people and upgrading lab facilities, as it battles global concerns about risks associated with its network gear.
The typically secretive Chinese technology giant made the comments at one of its most in-depth press conferences at its Dongguan offices, after welcoming about two dozen international journalists into its new campus in the southern Chinese city.
The move came after Huawei has already secured more than 25 commercial contracts for 5G, or fifth-generation mobile communication technology.
“We have already shipped more than 10,000 base stations for 5G, which demonstrates the trustworthiness of our company,” said Hu Houkun, rotating chairman of Huawei.
Huawei is the world’s largest maker of telecom equipment and the world’s second-largest smartphone vendor by shipments. The company said on Tuesday that it expects revenue to exceed $100 billion in 2018, up 8.7 percent from last year. The comments came as Huawei is recently facing concerns from foreign governments which have doubted the safety of its products.
“We will open a security transparency center in Brussels in the first quarter of next year to ensure clients that our products are reliable,” Hu said at a news conference in Dongguan, Guangdong province, adding that no major cyber security incidents have ever happened at the Shenzhen-based company for the past 30 years.
The senior executive also said Japan and France have no formal ban on Huawei’s telecom gear, in response to media reports that the two countries have expressed relevant concerns.
The move came weeks after Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, was arrested in Canada at the request of the United States. Meng was later released on bail.
Virtually, this Chinese firm has been locked out of the US market and Australia and New Zealand has been prohibited from building 5G networks amid concerns its gear could facilitate Chinese spying.
“Locking out competitors from a playing field cannot make yourself better. We think any concerns or allegations on security at Huawei should be based on factual evidence,” its rotating chairman Ken Hu said. “Without factual evidence we don’t accept and we oppose those allegations.”
Huawei has been communicating with governments worldwide regarding the independence of its operation, he said. He added that Japan and France had not formally banned its telecom equipment. Recent media reports have indicated moves by these governments to shun the company’s equipment.
Sources have told Reuters that Japan planned to ban government purchases of equipment.
Other media reported that the country’s three top operators planned not to use current equipment and upcoming 5G gear from Huawei, and that France was considering adding items to its “high-alert” list that tacitly targets Huawei.
Huawei has repeatedly said Beijing has no influence over it.
At the tour of Huawei’s Shenzhen headquarters on Tuesday, journalists glimpsed some of Huawei’s most advanced R&D labs housed in a three-story building with a white facade and four columns, referred to by insiders as the “White House.”
Wu said Huawei had secured more than 25 commercial contracts for 5G, slightly above the 22 the Chinese technology giant had announced in November.
As countries around the world scramble to deploy large-scale 5G networks, the global telecom equipment market for the superfast technology will hit $11 billion by 2022, research agency IHS Markit forecast, without disclosing the figure for this year.
Xiang Ligang, CEO of telecoms industry website Cctime, said the consumer electronics industry chain is so globalized, with companies being highly interdependent.
“Any possible harm to one company will have bad effects on others,” Xiang said. According to him, it is unreasonable for foreign companies to doubt the safety of Huawei just because it is a Chinese company.
Huawei said its products and services are available in more than 170 countries and regions. It also has more than 13,000 suppliers around the world, from Japan, the US and other countries.