Huawei reviewing FedEx ties after packages diverted

HONG KONG • Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei is reviewing its relationship with FedEx after it claimed the US package delivery company had, without detailed explanation, diverted two parcels destined for Huawei addresses in Asia to the United States and tried to reroute two others.

Huawei told Reuters last Friday that FedEx diverted two packages sent from Japan and addressed to Huawei in China to the US, and attempted to divert two more packages sent from Vietnam to Huawei offices elsewhere in Asia, all without authorisation, providing images of FedEx tracking records.

Huawei said the four packages contained only documents and "no technology", which Reuters was unable to independently confirm. It declined to elaborate on why it thought the packages were diverted.

Reuters was given no evidence the incident was related to the US government's move to place Huawei and its affiliates on a trade blacklist this month, effectively banning US firms from doing business with them on security grounds.

"The recent experiences where important commercial documents sent via FedEx were not delivered to their destination, and instead were either diverted to, or were requested to be diverted to, FedEx in the United States, undermines our confidence," said Mr Joe Kelly, a spokesman for Huawei.

"We will now have to review our logistics and document delivery support requirements as a direct result of these incidents," the spokesman said.

FedEx spokesman Maury Donahue said the packages were "misrouted in error" and that the firm was not requested to divert them by any other party.


"This is an isolated issue limited to a very small number of packages," said FedEx, referring to the four parcels affected.

"We are aware of all shipments at issue and are working directly with our customers to return the packages to their possession."

FedEx China yesterday apologised on its Chinese social media account for the "mishandling" of Huawei packages and confirmed there was no "external pressure" to divert packages.

The US believes Huawei, the world's largest telecommunications network gear maker leading the way in creating the next generation of wireless networks known as 5G, is a potential espionage threat because of its close ties with the Chinese government.

Huawei has repeatedly denied it is controlled by the Chinese government, military or intelligence services.

The issue has become a flashpoint in an escalating trade battle between the world's two biggest economies.

The two packages sent on May 19 and 20 from Tokyo, intended for Huawei in China, ended up in Memphis, Tennessee, the headquarters of the US company, on May 23, according to images of FedEx tracking records shown to Reuters by Huawei.


The other two packages, originating from Hanoi on May 17 and destined for Huawei's Hong Kong and Singapore offices, were held up after arriving in local FedEx stations in Hong Kong and Singapore on May 21 for "delivery exception", according to other images Huawei showed Reuters.

According to FedEx's website, the status "exception" means an unexpected event is preventing delivery of a package, for example a delay at Customs, a holiday, or no one being available to accept delivery. FedEx declined to give details on what the exception was in this case.

Huawei said it has lodged a formal complaint with China's postal regulator, which it said is investigating the incident.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2019, with the headline 'Huawei reviewing FedEx ties after packages diverted'. Print Edition | Subscribe