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Huawei fires back at House report: 'Customers know and trust us'

Just as Huawei plots its U.S. expansion, a House committee nails the company and tells companies to avoid using the tech vendor.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Huawei has fired back at the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence report telling U.S. companies to refrain from using the Chinese technology company's software and hardware.

The House report, which was noted on Sunday as a roadblock to Huawei's plan to expand in the U.S., took aim at the company as well as ZTE. Huawei battles with companies like Cisco in emerging markets, but plans to expand in the U.S.

In a statement, Huawei said that it opened up to the House committee, which "failed to provide clear information or evidence to substantiate the legitimacy of the Committee's concerns."

The House committee report nails Huawei as well as ZTE:

Despite hours of interviews, extensive and repeated document requests, a review of open-source information, and an open hearing with witnesses from both companies, the Committee remains unsatisfied with the level of cooperation and candor provided by each company. Neither company was willing to provide sufficient evidence to ameliorate the Committee’s concerns. Neither company was forthcoming with detailed information about its formal relationships or regulatory interaction with Chinese authorities. Neither company provided specific details about the precise role of each company’s Chinese Communist Party Committee. Furthermore, neither company provided detailed information about its operations in the United States. Huawei, in particular, failed to provide thorough information about its corporate structure, history, ownership, operations, financial arrangements, or management. Most importantly, neither company provided sufficient internal documentation or other evidence to support the limited answers they did provide to Committee investigators.

The upshot to Huawei's statement is that it is a global company with deployments around the world.

Huawei said:

Currently, the integrity of Huawei's operations and the quality and security of our products are world-proven across 140 countries around the world. They are deployed by over 500 operators and our products have served almost 3 billion people worldwide. These customers know and trust Huawei and they know our commitment to their company and to their customers who rely on them for their communications service. Huawei has introduced best practices of Western management to construct standardized and process-oriented operational management systems, including product development, supply chain management, financial management, human resources, and quality control. Huawei's annual financial reports are audited by KPMG.

The United States has become the world's largest economic entity in a short period of time due in large part to the open policy it has been implementing over the past 200 years. We believe that the United States will continue with this spirit. Huawei is no different from any start-up enterprises in Silicon Valley, and our growth and development relies very much on our entrepreneurial spirit, the commitment and hard work of our employees, as well as our unwavering dedication to innovation. Moving forward, we will continue to do the best we can to provide our customers with safe, convenient, and equal access to information and communications services.

What's unclear from here is whether Huawei can mount an offensive that can counter the perception laid out by the House committee. It remains to be seen if carriers and enterprises will trust Huawei in their data centers.

The bottom line here is that the House report is going to make selling very difficult for Huawei in developed markets. From the report:

The U.S. government must pay particular attention to products produced by companies with ties to regimes that present the highest and most advanced espionage threats to the U.S., such as China. Recent cyber-attacks often emanate from China, and even though precise attribution is a perennial challenge, the volume, scale, and sophistication often indicate state involvement. As the U.S.-China Commission explained in its unclassified report on China’s capabilities to conduct cyber warfare and computer network exploitation (CNE), actors in China seeking sensitive economic and national security information through malicious cyber operations often face little chance of being detected by their targets.
Finally, complicating this problem is the fact that Chinese telecommunications firms, such as Huawei and ZTE, are rapidly becoming dominant global players in the telecommunications market. In another industry, this development might not be particularly concerning. When those companies seek to control the market for sensitive equipment and infrastructure that could be used for spying and other malicious purposes, the lack of market diversity becomes a national concern for the United States and other countries. Of note, the United States is not the only country focusing on these concerns. Australia expressed similar concerns when it chose to ban Huawei from its national broadband infrastructure project. Great Britain has attempted to address the concerns by instituting an evaluation regime that limits Huawei’s access to the infrastructure and evaluates any Huawei equipment and software before they enter the infrastructure.

More: Don't trust Huawei and ZTE, US congressional committee warns | Cisco ends ZTE partnership over Iran probe | Huawei eyes India's tier-1 telcos for growth | Can Huawei crack the U.S. data center market? | 

Previously: CBS News: Chinese telecom giant eyed as security threat | CNET: Inside Huawei, the Chinese tech giant that's rattling nerves in DC | ZDNet: Huawei: We've been unfairly singled out | Life at Huawei's Shenzhen HQ: In pictures | Huawei gives IPO serious thought | Uganda orders probe into Huawei's fiber project | Huawei and Intel team up on server, cloud products | Huawei in cybersecurity pledge: 'We're not Chinese spies' | Huawei steps up expansion in Asia, EU | Huawei rails against Aus Govt 'vendor discrimination' | Despite NBN ban, Huawei reinvests profits into Australia

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