Rest of World Loves Good, Cheap Huawei Gear

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 1/29/2019 06:38:00 PM
At Huawei HQ, do they hatch nefarious data-stealing plans or try to increase customer value? Maybe a bit of both, even?
Here is a counterpoint to all the Huawei fear-mongering you read about nowadays. Encouraged by the United States to limit government purchases of Huawei networking gear, many of its allies have sharply curtailed their purchases due to security concerns. That is, Huawei is portrayed as a corporate spy working on behalf of the Community Party of China. Just today, the United States has criminally charged Huawei with stealing trade secrets from US telecoms giant T-Mobile. Fair or unfair, Huawei has acquired this reputation for becoming a conduit for PRC state interests.

However, you must also step back and consider: Why exactly is it that there are so many purchasers of Huawei gear? Aren't they delusional in even entertaining procurement of such equipment that compromises the security of their data networks? As Bloomberg points out, Huawei offers fine-quality equipment at prices many cash-strapped government buyers find attractive--something you cannot say about its Western competitors:
In the sparsely settled wildlands of eastern Oregon, Huawei Technologies Co. is hardly the big bad wolf of China that U.S. officials have depicted. It’s a lifeline to the 21st Century. China’s largest tech company makes high-quality networking gear that it sells to rural telecommunications operators for 20 percent to 30 percent less than its competitors do, says Joseph Franell, chief executive officer and general manager of Eastern Oregon Telecom in Hermiston, a watermelon-growing hub of 18,000 people. Huawei’s equipment has helped some two dozen U.S. telecom companies provide landlines, mobile services and high-speed data to many of the poorest and most remote areas in the country.
Further, even if Western governments are busy ridding themselves of existing Huawei gear that can allegedly be used for Chinese sleuthing, buyers in other countries have not been deterred from buying gear that is not only of good quality but also inexpensive:
Through it all, Huawei has prospered. The company garners about half its annual revenue of $92 billion outside China, led by Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where cutting-edge technology at affordable prices has endeared the Chinese company to budget-strapped purchasers.
Even in Huawei is not found complicit in spying for the Chinese government at the current time, critics say that its products should not be installed in security-sensitive applications since the company is legally obliged to act in the interests of the PRC. Given Huawei's advantage in 5G equipment that will be used in more applications for daily life, the potential opportunities for PRC-led surveillance via Huawei gear are supposedly plentiful:
The crux of the [Trump] administration’s argument is that Huawei couldn’t say no to demands from China’s government, even if it wanted to. China’s National Intelligence Law of 2017 requires all Chinese companies and citizens to "assist in and cooperate in national intelligence work" if requested. Whether Huawei or any of its employees have done so in the past is now incidental, China hawks argue, given Huawei’s lead in developing 5G technologies for the future.
I am inclined to think that despite bans the United States and its allies have instituted in installing Huawei networking gear in potentially security-sensitive applications, these are counterbalanced by the rest of the world who do not really have sensitive information the Chinese would find value in acquiring surreptitiously.That is, data security takes a back seat as a concern.

5G or not, there are enduring advantages to being both a low-cost and high-quality producer.