Huawei takes fight with US over spying fears to top mobile fair

Huawei unveiled a new foldable smartphone on Sunday on the eve of the world’s top mobile fair in Barcelona and hit out against Washington’s campaign to bar it from developing next-generation 5G wireless networks.

China’s most successful global firm has booked a huge stand at the four-day Mobile World Congress and has sent a large delegation which includes its media-shy founder, Ren Zhengfei, and two rotating chairmen.

The trade fair, which officially opens on Monday and is expected to draw some 100,000 people from across the telecoms industry, comes as the United States has stepped up pressure on its allies to block Huawei from building its 5G networks.

US officials suspect that Beijing could use the Shenzhen-based Huawei’s products to spy on Western governments, and the company’s presence in the United States has already been severely restricted.

Washington considers the matter urgent as countries around the world prepare to roll out fifth-generation or 5G networks that will bring near-instantaneous connectivity, vast data capacity and futuristic technologies such as self-driving cars.

The Trump administration has reportedly sent a large delegation of its own to the trade fair to press its case with industry executives and its foreign counterparts.

Huawei, the world’s second-largest smartphone vendor after Samsung and the leading supplier of the backbone equipment for wireless mobile networks worldwide, denied its equipment could be used for espionage.

Asked about Washington’s campaign during a roundtable with media on Sunday in Barcelona, Huawei’s rotating chairman Guo Ping said he “still can’t understand why such a national power wants to attack a company with advanced technologies.

We have never and we are not and we will never allow back doors in our equipment and we will never allow anyone from any country to do that in our equipment,” he added through an interpreter.

“Huawei needs to abide by Chinese laws and also by the laws outside China if we operate in those countries. Huawei will never, and dare not, and cannot violate any rules and regulations in the countries where we operate.”

Guo said 5G security standards should be decided by technical experts, not politicians, and that Huawei hoped each country would make its decisions based on “national interests (and) not just listen to someone else’s order”.

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