Huawei - friend or foe?
Few people will remember, but in 2008 US business Symantec and China’s Huawei formed a partnership business called Huawei Symantec. The purpose of the business was to sell IT networking, storage and computing products that leveraged the power of Symantec software with the physical engineering capabilities of Huawei. Here in the UK, Manchester-based Utopia Technology were appointed as their first UK distributors.
Sadly, the Huawei/Symantec relationship ended four years later when Huawei bought out Symantec after the American company feared it would lose out on major US contracts due to concerns over Huawei’s reported ties with the Chinese government. Sound familiar?
Today Huawei are facing not only the loss of sales to the US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and possibly UK markets, but also a restriction in access to US technology, companies such as Qualcomm, Google and ARM all supply technology that is deeply embedded in Huawei’s consumer and business products and without those technologies Huawei are going to find selling their own alternative proprietary solutions, very difficult.
However, there’s a bigger picture here which seems to have been very conveniently forgotten by US President Donald Trump and his trade team. Several of the largest US technology businesses develop and build many of their products in China. These companies include IBM, Apple, Honeywell, HPC, Dell, Nokia and many more. In fact the number of US businesses manufacturing in China runs into the thousands.
Does Mr Trump really think that if the Chinese Government wanted to spy on the US in the way that Huawei have been accused of, that the Chinese authorities wouldn’t also be forcing every other Chinese-owned manufacturing plant in China to create the same security backdoors in all the other technology based products they make as well?
What makes it really interesting is that one of the major 5G equipment manufacturers, Cisco, a US company, have recently announced that thousands of their US designed products including firewall security products, network routers and switchers have all been found to have critical security flaws in them that mean they are vulnerable to cyber attack and many of these instances can only be fixed by a physical visit to site, which will take several months to resolve. These vulnerable Cisco products are widely used by governments, consumers and the military, in countries all around the globe. Nothing to say about that Mr Trump?
Here in the UK, Utopia Technology, has continued to partner with Huawei and grow the Huawei UK Enterprise business through selling advanced technology solutions to internet service providers and a host of both public and private sector clients. The demand is strong, thanks to Huawei’s advanced technology and competitive pricing and it continues to grow.
The reality is that based on the above we’re unlikely to see any technology products, whether they come from the USA, China or wherever, being 100 per cent secure anytime soon. However, what we can see in Huawei is a business that since those early days of 2008 has invested billions into the UK and its economy, creating thousands of jobs both directly and indirectly and they have given a firm guarantee to continue investing in the UK, how many other companies can say the same?
- Chris Sulej is a former commercial director of Utopia Technology. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org