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Huawei CEO: New Zealand 'very valuable' market

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei opens up to the media for the first time and shares why New Zealand is one of its most important markets and that it has no part to play in cybersecurity challenges confronting the United States.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

Huawei Technologies CEO Ren Zhengfei has conducted his first media interview in New Zealand to highlight the importance of the market to the Chinese networking giant. In it, he reiterated Huawei has "no connection" to the cybersecurity issues the United States has to deal with.

Mr. Ren in New Zealand-2
CEO Ren Zhengfei gives his first media interview in New Zealand to highlight the country's importance to Huawei.

In a statement issued Thursday, Ren said New Zealand is one of Huawei's most important strategic markets and is "very valuable" to the company. The Chinese network gear maker in April 2013 was chosen to build Telecom New Zealand's 4G LTE network, which is expected to go live later in October, and also introduced the world's first Maori-language smartphone through mobile operator 2degrees.

"Huawei has been selected to help build a 4G LTE and the ultra-fast broadband network in New Zealand. We will continue to deploy world-class, advanced communications technologies here, delivering the safest, most advanced networks for the nation," said Ren.

With the broadband network investment in place, the CEO also highlighted the importance of addressing cybersecurity challenges. In order to mitigate these issues, he said the "solution" must involve governments, telcos and ICT companies, including Huawei and its peers, and end-users to collaborate and adopt multilateral approaches to eliminate the risks.

"No connection" to U.S. cybersecurity issues

Ren also addressed U.S. concerns over Huawei telecommunications equipment being used by the Chinese government to spy on the country.

He said: "Huawei equipment is almost non-existent in networks currently running in the U.S. We have never sold any key equipment to major U.S. carriers, nor have we sold any equipment to any U.S. government agency. Huawei has no connection to the cybersecurity issues the U.S. has encountered in the past, current and future."

The company had stated last month it has decided to focus on Europe to pave its way into developing markets, rather than focus on breaking into the U.S. market which it has faced much difficulties in the past few months. Executive vice president Eric Xu said the company is not interested in the U.S. market anymore, after a Congressional report questioned its unwillingness to explain its ties to the Chinese government and warned local companies to be wary of doing business with the Chinese networking giant.

Huawei's links to the Chinese government stems from Ren's participation in the Communist Party in 1978 and his role as an engineer in the People's Liberation Army before he founded the company.

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