Huawei to spend $2.7b in cyber-security push

Huawei said it would focus on cyber security by adding more people and upgrading lab facilities, as it tackles concerns about its network gear.
Huawei said it would focus on cyber security by adding more people and upgrading lab facilities, as it tackles concerns about its network gear.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

HONG KONG • Huawei Technologies yesterday said it would spend US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) over the next five years to focus on cyber security 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.

Huawei has been in the news these past weeks for the arrest of its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou - also the daughter of its billionaire founder Ren Zhengfei - in Canada at the request of the United States. This has exacerbated the woes of the Chinese firm, which has already been virtually locked out of the US market and has been prohibited by Australia and New Zealand 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 its 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 yesterday, journalists glimpsed some of the company's most advanced R&D labs housed in a three-storey building with a white facade and four columns, referred to by insiders as the "White House".

The Chinese technology giant said it had secured more than 25 commercial contracts for 5G, slightly above the 22 it had announced last month.

The company has shipped more than 10,000 base stations for the fifth generation of mobile communications, it said, adding that it expects revenue to exceed US$100 billion this year - up 8.7 per cent from last year.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2018, with the headline 'Huawei to spend $2.7b in cyber-security push'. Print Edition | Subscribe