Huawei CEO denies company spied for China

The electronics firm's boss said though the company has to "comply with laws and regulations in every country," Huawei has not been asked to spy for China.

Huawei chief executive Ren Zhengfei speaking to BBC's Linda Yueh (Image: BBC World/Twitter)

Huawei chief executive Ren Zhengfei has denied the company spied on other countries for the Chinese government.

In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the networking equipment maker's boss made an effort to dispel concerns that the company was being used by Beijing to spy on Western companies, amid years claims of espionage from the U.S. government.

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"Why would I want to take someone's data? Who would give me money for it?" he said, adding that the company provides the "simple-minded pipes" that power the Internet.

Zhengfei added that Huawei had never received demands from the Chinese government asking it to spy on the U.S.

"We can't possibly penetrate into other systems," he added.

The technology giant has for years denied claims made in the U.S. Congress that the company has included "backdoors" that could be used for foreign espionage.

Since then, the company has faced scrutiny in the U.K. and Australia, and other regions, citing similar fears. To date, no concrete evidence has appeared publicly, under the assumption the U.S. intelligence community knows something the rest of us may never find out.

Last year, U.S. and German media citing documents leaked by former U.S. government contractor Edward Snowden showed the National Security Agency had accessed Huawei's networks, email archive, and other communications between senior executives.

Huawei said earlier this month it expects its sales to rise 15 percent this year, after selling 75 million smartphones. Much of the company's sales outlook rests on big data, cloud computing, and smart devices.

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