back to article Huawei, ZTE clash with US over national security

Chinese telecoms kit makers Huawei and ZTE failed to allay the long standing national security concerns of Congressmen surrounding their access to the US market, at a high profile hearing in Washington on Thursday. The two have been in the spotlight for almost a year as the US House of Representatives Select Committee on …


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  1. Kevin Johnston Silver badge

    Balanced viewpoint?

    Surely even a US 'bought and paid for' politician would struggle to deny the similarity between a Chinese company making telecoms kit and a US company which had it's telecoms kit made in China.

    Perhaps the issue here is the Huawei and ZTE stance/claim that they do not allow anyone to add 'features' to their kit which would exclude the NSA.......

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does the US think that these Companies will bring out phones that brainwash Americans, maybe poison them, make them into robots, listen in to their conversations, spy, explode? Do you think Barak or his children will use them? Maybe his National Security Adviser uses a ZTE.

    For goodness sake, they produce cheap mobile phones, this is all about protectionism and nothing else.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge

      " they produce cheap mobile phones"

      The concern isn't bout their phones, it's about their network switching gear

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. solidsoup

    I don't know if the national security concerns are justified, but American and European companies have a tough time in Chinese market mostly due to government restrictions, favoritism, and sometimes outright theft of IP. If China wants play in our playgrounds, they should let us play in theirs. Until then, I have zero sympathy for Huawei and ZTE. It's also worth noting that Huawei is a private company, not subject to public reporting rules. It's not entirely clear who owns it behind the scenes.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "they produce cheap mobile phones"

    Maybe some folk don't know it, but Huawei and ZTE do actually do rather more than that.

    In the UK, Huawei have been a major supplier of landline telecoms access and backbone kit (the stuff that makes your phone calls and your DSL broadband work) for the best part of a decade. Same story in many other countries.

    ZTE kit is a major part of many modern cellular networks around the world. Not just handsets, the stuff that makes the network work.

    Nothing's gone wrong yet, so Huawei and ZTE must be OK, right? Right?

  5. DohaAndy

    So unreasonable

    I wonder just how many US companies would refuse to hand over information on their overseas clients in if required by the government? There is even a law forcing them to hand over data on demand.

    Then they take two Chinese companies and ask “What if you were required to hand over the data by the Chinese government?”. The question is stupid.

    The reality is that Huawei and ZTE are growing rapidly and the committee members etc are being bankrolled by US companies who want to stop the competition using any way they can rather than just making better and cheaper products.

    The whole thing is a farce. If they were serious about security they would set up a testing centre like BT have done with Huawei under the watchful eye of the Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG)i which is the UK Government's National Technical Authority for Information Assurance.

    Proving someone hasn't done something wrong is pointless as, by definition, there is no evidence.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So unreasonable

      "The reality is that Huawei and ZTE are growing rapidly..."

      I don't think this is the point.

      Has the company you work for ever done business in China? (mine did) If so, was your company forced into a minority position in a joint-venture in order to do business in China? (it was) Was that relationship later terminated and your factory closed? (yes) Did your local joint-venture partner then re-open the facility using your technology a short time later? (yes) Do you know how hard it is to compete against your own technology when its priced lower than you dare? (yes) Could you do anything about it in the Chinese market? (no) Was one of your expatriot Chinese employees later fired for technology misappropriation? (yes, but other reasons were given, too)

      It has been hinted before that Huawei kit was cloned from Cisco hardware, all of the way down to the bugs.

      I have a ZTE phone, and if I ignore the AT&T 'features', it's actually a very nice phone.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US companies handing over confidential information to US authorities...

    ...that doesn't ever happen does it? (Who was running the last UK census again....?)

    Conversely US authorities have never passed on trade secrets gleaned through surveillance/espionage to US companies who could gain a business advantage, have they...?


  7. Ian Michael Gumby

    The moral of the story...

    "As a global company that earns a large part of its revenue from markets outside of China, we know that any improper behaviour would blemish our reputation, would have an adverse effect in the global market, and ultimately would strike a fatal blow to the company’s business operations. Our customers throughout the world trust Huawei. We will never do anything that undermines that trust. It would be immensely foolish for Huawei to risk involvement in national security or economic espionage."

    The moral of the story... Don't get caught.

    While you may think of this as a joke, it's not. The Spartans taught their children to steal food yet punished them severely if they got caught trying to steal. The idea was to teach them the survival skills by creating a better thief.

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  9. EvilGav 1

    "motive to tamper with the global telecoms supply chain"

    I like that comment, because the only governemnt that has saught to tamper with the global telecoms is - the US. Seizing web addresses of foreign companies and impeding the progress of a global resource (stopping the XXX TLD, for example).

    Before pointing a finger, first look at yourself.

  10. Mahou Saru

    Better ban all iPhones etc from government employees then...

    And everything else made in China or other communist countries...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Better ban all iPhones etc from government employees then...

      I think you meant 'foreign' instead of 'communist'.

  11. JaitcH

    US using security to fight imports

    Consider: "And under Chinese law, ZTE and Huawei would likely be required to cooperate with any request by the Chinese government to use their systems or access for malicious purposes.”

    along with

    "And under US law, manufacturers would likely be required to cooperate with any request by the US Government to use their systems or access for malicious purposes.”

    Tit for Tat. Obviously the US government is double-dealing as usual.

    The US government requires back doors in all manner of equipment. Only Phil Zimmerman has guts enough to tell them to stuff it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: US using security to fight imports

      plus software companies, don't forget the software companies!

      oh, and data storage companies as well, if the server you store your data on is based in the US, then the government have access to that info. Worse yet, even if the server is located elsewhere, as long as the company have its head office or a branch office in the US, then they are required by law to allow access to their overseas servers!

      any way, don't American companies work with the US Army as well?

      1. Kevin Johnston Silver badge

        Re: US using security to fight imports

        You missed one, if you have a .com web address then they can take over your server/data even if neither are on US soil.

  12. StuBird

    And what about the cyber attacks on Chinese/Afghan/India and any other number of countries soil that originate in from the US, or whatever anon proxy the attacker chooses to use??? do we really think that a cyber attacker would leave a trace back to their home country. We would be naive to believe that it is so easy to trace back a government funded cyber attack to source methinks! How about more reports on US funded cyber crime to even up reporting.

  13. StuBird

    Can you imagine the uproar if two US company owners were subjected to the same paranoid questioning by the Chinese authorities. US policy is to have access to LOTS of industrial secrets. How do you think they did so well commercially for so many years before anyone twigged what they were doing! This line of questioning regarding access to company NDA stuff seems to be a bit of a smoke screen to gain further access they are hampered with gaining right now. It is laughable. When the internet is not run by a majority of US companies, which WILL happen, watch them start crying again as they need industrial secrets to be able to be No1. knowledge is power, blah blah blah ad infinitum.

  14. Richard Altmann


    1.Cisco is loosing market share big time. So they come up with this "chinese military backdoor" stuff and send their (hang them)lobbiests to Washington. Probably offering the US military backdoors in their own kit. Most likely its in there already since a long time and the US military,NSA ... whoever, is concerned of loosing control of the internet backbone if more and more Cisco kit is replaced by Huawei boxes.

    2.Huawei is no longer copying Cisco ware but creating their own stuff which noone in the US is able to analyse or recreate. That´s obviuos since no such chinese military backdoor has ever been found by them. It scares the shit out of both of them. Cisco for having to face a competitor with reasonable prices and the Gov for having to face black boxes from which they don´t know what´s inside.

    As for Cisco producing their kit in china: Move to russia hahahaha!

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