Huawei Pulls Back on Effort to Crack U.S. Carrier Equipment Market
After spending years trying to persuade U.S. regulators to ease their restrictions, China’s Huawei is acknowledging that the political climate prevents it from building any sizable business selling network infrastructure to carriers here.
“Given the U.S. carrier equipment market environment, Huawei is prioritizing its carrier business on markets that are open to competition, innovation and investment,” Huawei spokesman William Plummer said in an email interview.
The company isn’t pulling out of the U.S. for sure, where it has a significant phone business as well as efforts in enterprise networking and other markets.
“We remain committed to our customers, employees, investments and operations and more than $1 billion in sales in the U.S., and we stand ready to deliver additional competition and innovative solutions as desired by customers and allowed by authorities,” Plummer said.
His comments follow an interview where Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei told French journalists that the company was tired of being stuck in the middle of a political dispute. Despite reassurances that they are independent businesses, U.S. officials have worried about potential security risks of allowing Huawei and Chinese rival ZTE to sell their network infrastructure products to domestic carriers.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama administration is privately raising concerns with South Korea about its plans to let Huawei develop the country’s advanced wireless network. The administration privately lobbied Australia on the same issue earlier. Washington sees a risk that the company’s equipment could be used for spying on communications among the allies, U.S. officials say.