Sputnik discussed the importance of the European market for Huawei with Andrew Leung, an independent China strategist based in Hong Kong.
Sputnik: China is calling accusations against Huawei "fabrications to stifle Chinese technology". How true is this statement?
Andrew Leung: Huawei has been very assiduous and very active behind the scenes, building up its dominant position in the world's IT, in 4G and now 5G market. Also, as far as the supply of 5G equipment is concerned, it's now the world's largest; there're no similar peers around the world.
I mean, the nearest competitors would be Ericsson and Nokia, but they are well behind Huawei, both in terms of pricing, as well as their variety of products, and, indeed, the number of patents held. Huawei now accounts for quite a substantial proportion of patents in 5G technologies.
Huawei has been able to achieve this working very diligently across the board in the four corners of the world. Huawei has been doing business with 66 countries worldwide and then it has established numerous stations on the ground, both inside China itself and also in the countries it's dealing with. So, there's not a peer competitor, as far as infrastructure is concerned.
There is a huge pushback against Huawei in recent years led by the United States. And this is understandable, because 5G, for example, of which Huawei is China's vanguard and is one of the leading vanguards in the world, will define not only how business is conducted, but it will also define how people live their daily lives and also informs the military dominance in various theatres. So, again, the United States, of course, has worries.
As far as the monitoring of the military intelligence is concerned, there is a Western military institution called the Five Eyes, where there're five countries — the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. It's a kind of confidential organization, although it's commonly known, and it's monitoring military intelligence. And of course, there is a lot of coordination among these countries. These countries have a coordinated approach and pushback against Huawei; and now the US is rallying its Western allies, like Germany and France, to stop them from using Huawei products in their government institutions. But as I was saying in the beginning, the Huawei products are quite internationally prevalent; Huawei has been doing business in 66 countries and has established a worldwide network, and they have very limited peer competition. So, that is the reality.
Andrew Leung: Huawei has a deputy chairperson and it's the daughter of the founder of Huawei, but she is not an instrumental scientist or technologist in the organization. In fact, Huawei has one of the world's largest proportions of technologists to other staff; over 40 percent of the staff is engaged in R&D and technologies. So, it is a company which is infused by innovative technology and has a worldwide footprint.
So, the arrest of this lady, the chairperson, isn't going to change the complete picture. Of course, the accusations are based on violations of the ban against Iran and I suppose it all depends on the evidence gathered. And, of course, the lady is now being detained in Canada, and Canada flags up the fact that the rule of law must be respected and the process must be given its due course. The test or the putting is whether or not she would be extradited to the United States; and, of course, the US, as the country imposing those bans on Iran, there will be very severe penalties on that.
I think that if she is extradited to the United States and subject to the strictures of the Trump administration as pushback against Huawei, then the tension between China and the United States is likely to heighten. But we haven't come to this stage yet, because there needs to be a window of something like 90 days, still about a couple of more months, in which the United States needs to lodge a formal request for Canada to extradite this lady. That has not yet been undertaken, but that is still on the cards. I think that's a worrying situation for China, but, as I said, it's not going to change Huawei's competitiveness in the technology field in terms of 5G.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.