It may have not been able to deal Huawei the same almost fatal blow it gave ZTE but the US government is ramping up its efforts to make sure the Chinese company will have no place to run soon. It has already made it illegal to use Huawei and ZTE equipment in government and now reports are claiming that the US is doing what it can to urge other countries, particularly its allies, to also shun Huawei-made networking equipment in light of the upcoming 5G transition.
To be fair, the US government’s attitude towards Huawei dates back before Trump’s presidency but has come to a head during his term. Huawei’s status as a national security risk stems from the company’s founder, a former Chinese military engineer, as well as the Chinese government’s ability to force companies to hand over data at its request. That situation has escalated due to the ongoing trade spat between the US and China, with each country imposing higher tariffs and trade restrictions on the other.
While some may see the US overreaching its domain, the government is using its military basis as a starting point for the discussion. The report says that US officials have talked with their counterparts in Germany, Italy, and Japan, countries where the US has established military bases. The US expresses concerns that the use of networking equipment from Huawei would compromise the security of its military bases on foreign soil because such bases use public Internet lines for the majority of non-sensitive communication.
Interestingly, the report also claims that the US is mulling over giving financial aid for telecommunications development for countries that agree to snub Huawei, something that almost sounds like a bribe. Those countries, coincidentally, are in the process of migrating their networks to 5G, the technology that’s expected to power the next wave of smart devices and the Internet of Things.
This news couldn’t have come at a worse time for Huawei as it seeks to compete exactly on that front. It is one of the world’s largest networking equipment manufacturers but being shoved out of key markets will not only hurt its profits, it will also be a blow to its credibility as well. The company continues to protest its innocence but countries like Australia aren’t buying it.