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Telco's Australian boss frustrated by "China bashing"

Business

The Australian chairman of Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies believes the company has been caught up in “China bashing”.

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A frustrated John Lord made the statement to The Australian Financial Review after the United States announced criminal charges would be laid against the global firm and its chief financial officer.

“There’s a lot of China bashing going on and Huawei is getting swept up in that and it’s frustrating for me and for our global board,” he said.

Multiple countries have now banned Huawei from involvement in high-tech communications projects, while some Huawei executives face spying charges.

Australia was one of the first to ban Huawei from the rollout of 5G networks but Prime Minister Scott Morrison played a straight bat to questions about the company’s security concerns.

“There are a lot of reports that are out there at the moment and I would just counsel people to remain calm about these things,” he told reporters in Brisbane today.

“The government is keeping a close watch and ensuring that Australians’ interests are always protected.”

The US on Monday brought sweeping charges against Huawei and its Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou – the daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei – who was arrested in Canada in December at the request of the US.

But Huawei denies all of the allegations, which accuse the company of violating trade sanctions, lying to banks and stealing technology.

Lord said the firm always tried to follow US and United Nations sanctions.

“I won’t comment on the US sanctions because that’s before the courts,” he said.

“But the company does treat it all as a global issue and from day one, Ren (Zhengfei) said we obey all UN sanctions and US sanctions.”

Huawei makes equipment including base stations, switches and routers, as well as consumer products such as smartphones.

The company derives nearly half its total revenue outside of China.

Australia in August banned Huawei and another Chinese telecommunications equipment company, ZTE Corp, from involvement in the rollout of the nation’s 5G network.

The first significant casualty of the ban came on Tuesday, with TPG Telecom announcing it was cancelling its $2 billion plan to build the nation’s newest mobile network.

Both companies labelled the situation “extremely disappointing”.

“It is extremely disappointing that the clear strategy the company had to become a mobile network operator at the forefront of 5G has been undone by factors outside of TPG’s control,” TPG executive chairman David Teoh said.

– AAP

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