Huawei Technologies Co Ltd has expressed “active” interest in building the first undersea fiber-optic cable to connect South America with China.
Speaking to Reuters earlier this week, David Dou Yong, Huawei’s chief executive in Chile, said that the company was closely monitoring the public tender process initiated by Chile last month.
“Huawei will be very actively participating in this business opportunity. This bidding process has several steps […]. We are ready and we will follow the process until the bid to select a vendor to implement it starts and for sure we will be part of the tender process”, Dou Yong said.
The trans-Pacific fiber-optic cable will run for about 24,000 kilometres (14,920 miles), depending on the destination. Promoted by the Chilean government since 2018, the project will link South America to Japan or China’s Shanghai. In June 2020, the government is due to decide on the destination of the project worth, which is worth around $500 million.
Dou Yong's comments came after Huawei executive director of the board and president of the Carrier BG Ryan Ding announced that the company had already gained 50 5G network-related commercial contracts and shipped over 150,000 base stations.
“Globally, 5G is gaining strong momentum in its commercial adoption. Since the first half of this year, a good number of countries, including South Korea, UK, Switzerland, Italy, and Kuwait, have commercially launched 5G networks, two-thirds of which were constructed by Huawei,” Ding told a Shanghai industry conference in late June.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has meanwhile reiterated earlier US claims about Huawei posing a "threat" to America and the world, saying that the prospect of the Chinese company's involvement in new telecommunications systems such as 5G “presents an enormous risk, a national security risk.”
He spoke after the US Department of Commerce Department reportedly signalled its readiness to extend its waiver for Huawei for another 90 days, allowing the Chinese company to purchase technology from American companies.
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In May, the Trump administration blocked government contractors from using Huawei gear and, in a separate development, barred the Chinese tech giant from buying US-made equipment, including chips.
Washington suspects that Huawei, the world's largest telecom equipment manufacturer, is helping Beijing steal commercial secrets and collect personal data, allegations both Huawei and Chinese authorities deny.
The crackdown comes as Beijing and Washington have been trying to resolve a bilateral trade spat that emerged in the wake of Trump’s decision in June 2018 to slap 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods in a bid to fix the trade deficit.
The row further escalated last Friday when Trump announced that the US would raise tariffs from 10 percent to 15 percent on a whopping $300 billion worth of Chinese goods starting on 1 September.