Is America right to fear Huawei? | The Economist

Is America right to fear Huawei? | The Economist

Huawei is very dangerous Rarely does a country go to war with a private company We have met the enemy and it is Huawei But America has done just that We’re not going to do business with Huawei Huawei represents a national security risk But is this really about Huawei or is it something bigger than that? It’s not, can you trust Huawei… …it’s, can you trust the Chinese government And what is the threat? This is exactly what China wants They want to divide Western alliances… …through bits and bytes, not bullets and bombs I do not really understand America’s political motivation So, what is this war really about… …and why is Huawei in the middle of it? Founded in China in 1987… …Huawei is now the world’s largest maker of telecoms equipment… …with revenues exceeding $103bn When you think about Huawei… …you might think about the handset That makes sense, since it sold 200m of them in 2018 alone But close to half of its revenue comes from selling network equipment And it’s this infrastructure side of the company that worries governments… …much more than the sort of consumer-handset side With Ericsson and Nokia, it’s one of the three biggest… …manufacturers of this equipment In fact, since 2014 it’s outgrown all its competitors… …reaching over 3bn people This is how networks function Your phone sends a signal to a nearby tower using radio waves… …voice and data are passed over an internal network… …run by your phone company, which connects your handset… …to other phone users and the wider internet In other words, these antennas connect us all But now, there’s a new kind of network The race to 5G is moving forward at full speed From TV ads to presidential tweets You’ve probably heard debates about the revolutionary 5G Although 5G is massively overhyped, it is coming… …and Huawei is a leading force in this innovation It will be a sort of big change Maybe not quite so enormous as people like to tell you The other thing that people like to say that 5G will enable… …is this idea of the Internet of Things If you want things like self-driving cars that download detailed maps… …of where they’re about to be, you need 5G to do that If you want internet-connected door locks or CCTV cameras… …maybe 5G is a way to connect those But though this computerised, smart future opens up new possibilities… …it comes with a health warning We’re moving to a world where everything will be connected to the internet But we haven’t thought enough about security That’s the big fear about having a hostile power control your 5G network Because if entire networks are vulnerable… …this opens the door to countries spying on one another 5G networks must be secure, they must be strong They have to be guarded from the enemy In a rare interview with The Economist… …Ren Zhengfei, Huawei’s founder and CEO, talked about… …the political storm surrounding his company I do not really understand America’s political motivation 5G is just a type of technology or product. It is simply a tool It would be a mistake to politicise 5G As the argument rages over the security of Huawei’s products… …the effects can be seen in some unexpected places The biggest issue, I think with all of this political turmoil… …surrounding the Huawei name, is uncertainty Joe Franell runs Eastern Oregon Telecom… …a small network serving the people of this rural area In rural, remote areas it’s hard to connect with people And so the internet becomes this really important way… …to connect with community Herb, how are you doing? The problem is that the network here relies on Huawei technology So you’re using the internet from Eastern Oregon Telecom… …to be able to run, monitor, control all of these pivot-irrigation systems I have no idea how we’d do without it The Huawei equipment was 30-40% less than everything else on the market… …and it’s more capable and more reliable This economic boom that’s out here… …all of this effective agriculture that’s going on out here… …would not be effective, or even possible, without internet connectivity It’s a similar story around the world Mobile-phone users in developing countries… …have benefited from Huawei’s attractive deals But how is Huawei undercutting its competitors? Huawei can offer cheaper prices because they are heavily subsidised… …by the Chinese government These are allegations that are strenuously denied by Huawei Huawei is Huawei, China is China Huawei doesn’t have so much glory that it can represent China Whether or how Huawei is connected to and subsidised by… …the Chinese government is unclear. But what is clear is this China is the kind of country where if the party says jump… …all you can say is, well how high? Loyalty to the state is actually enshrined in China’s intelligence law Article 7, a 2017 addition, states that… …“Any organisation or citizen shall support, assist and co-operate… …with the state intelligence work” Critics say this law means that when you buy Huawei equipment… …you may be exposing yourself to surveillance… …by the Chinese intelligence services And this makes governments very uncomfortable Huawei is just a tool of the Chinese government… …China is a difficult country for any company to be independent in And when you look at that, the new intelligence law… …you’ve got to have some concerns This has made a lot of people worried that Huawei… …given its close relationship to the Communist Party… …and given the Communist Party’s willingness to wield hard power… …you could then end up in a situation where… …they can use that effectively as a weapon The fear is that Huawei will leave backdoor vulnerabilities in its networks… …that would provide China with an opportunity to spy… …on its competitors and enemies To counter this mistrust, Huawei has shared its code… …and allowed the likes of Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre… …to scan it for backdoors We do have researchers that have been going through it… …with a fine-tooth comb looking for exactly these They’ve never found anything like that Even so, the Trump administration remains suspicious Huawei is something that’s very dangerous President Trump’s escalating trade war with China So, if there’s no solid security threat… …why is America making an enemy out of Huawei? We cannot allow any other country to out-compete the United States… …in this powerful industry of the future At least part of this is motivated by a desire to slow China’s rise… …and to keep a world in which America is the dominant power… …for as long as possible It seems as though the concern over Huawei… …is not only about America’s security… …but also its insecurity And it’s causing collateral damage at home as well as abroad In May 2019 the Trump administration issued an executive order… …which not only forbade American companies from supplying Huawei… …with components, but restricted domestic networks… …from using its equipment It’s a move that feels like an own goal to Americans like Joe Franell Worst-case scenario is there’s an all-out ban That means that three to six communities that are struggling… …desperate for broadband connectivity… …missing out on economic-development opportunities Having young people flee their community and never come back It would be a huge hit And there’s another uncomfortable truth that America can’t ignore Smartphone technology relies on a truly global supply chain Take an average smartphone Some contain components from more than 200 international suppliers Screens might be made by Samsung in South Korea The camera lens engineered in Germany The chip could be designed by a California-based company… …and manufactured in Taiwan The battery could come from Japan… …and the audio chip from China But increasingly, hostility and lack of trust… …threaten to fracture these supply chains This goes beyond Huawei We are entering a period of increased vulnerability… …when it comes to cyber security on the internet America’s concerns about Huawei are understandable But the risks can be managed… …by limiting the use of Huawei equipment… …to less sensitive parts of 5G networks That way it is possible to benefit from the low cost… …of Huawei’s equipment while minimising security concerns You know when we start talking about withdrawing… …and only doing business with companies that are… …really close allies or companies that are in the United States… …that damages the global economy and the way that we function as a world Billions of people around the world have benefited… …from increased connectivity… …made possible by global standards and global supply chains But if political mistrust divides the telecoms industry into rival camps… …everybody stands to lose

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. US is already spying on everybody, google facebook apple amazon have all gave backdoor access to NSA and CIA to monitor and gather data on US citizen as well as the whole world. now they afraid of chines to have access to same information. lol

  2. Oh right, equate private Chinese companies with the Chinese government to distract people from the fact that there is no evidence to support claims of the companies assisting espionage. They are doing this to TikTok too now. Free market indeed… Banning Chinese companies by labeling them security risks in absence of supporting evidence is like jailing or deporting Mexicans as drug dealers or illegal immigrants without evidence. It is racist BS.

  3. Trump in his misguided efforts to boost the American economy's competitiveness has instead stalled US growth, what a businessman.

  4. Everything they want to do with 5g is being done today with 4g…..and much more safely for people and their societies ! This is a shame in a lot of was….!!!

  5. yeah, America should have right to fear everything. either go my way or high way. America is world mob, ooops, sorry police ,everyone should listen to America, otherwise we will punish you.

  6. US had spy the world thru all electronic products such as phone,notebook, pad ,radio ,TV ,USB, printer, override your automotive, soon the news will explore worldwide.


  8. Look at AT&T. They give up R&D for a more profitable carrier business. I don't think that Chinese gov need to subsidize Huawei, or no to certain degree. It is just because China has very low R&D and manufacturing costs.

  9. It is not a plane field to compete with Huawei. Huawei can steal IP where world intellectual properties are present due to fact that the best companies could not protect their IP in China. So it could get all best tech whenever it wants. It army of thieves. Huawei has relations with it's gov which can do anything for it. How can you compete? Do you fear it?

  10. Fear Trump, Apple and Capitilism. Do what we say or we'll sanction you. Tried it on with N Korea, tried it in Vietnam, Supporting Uruguay state of terrorism, supporting Syria's state of terrorism and supporting Israel's state of terrorism. Capitilism and Globalism is the world's biggest crime against humanity.

  11. all this people fighting in the comments. Literally, nobody is praising the beautiful reporter at the end, she is stunning. After watching Winnie the Pooh, Pompeo and the Chosen One. gimme a break.

  12. I think every country has that private corp should support her country. even US has the same law, why only emphasize on huawai? I guess its only an american trip catching huawai.

  13. the western imperial powers that have long taken their position for granted are now getting antsy at seeing the pendulum swing towards china and the east. some interesting and tense moments ahead. in contrast to the west, china never sought to be a colonialist country and doesn't have a history of being one.

  14. OK , So now you should understand why Chinese government censored Google and Facebook,because they did the SAME things!!!!!!

  15. Even the CEO of Huawei doesn't understand America's politics. The US might as well ban Chinese food in case of micro-cameras in the food or something. ?

  16. What people failed to understand is It's not about fear. China blocked foreign companies end social medias from entering the Chinese market since decades although the West including America open their door wide open, which leads to a huge imbalance in favor of China. The free meal is over because the West needs also to feed its people not only China who became a greedy, arrogant racist country bullying it's neighbor in the South sea. You can't watch this video in China although Chinese companies use YouTube to spread its propaganda. It's just the end of naivety in the west and we should felicitate Trump who did what other countries should do since a long time

  17. US will do anything to stop China rise to be the global super power.
    The world is ending exiting the US ERA, country by country, region by region, US is losing influence.

    US goverment and american companies doesn't care about security, they didn't care about NSA spying the (almost) whole world. They only care about their money and power.

    But don't get fooled, this president won't make america great again, it's only speeding up its downfall, if weren't for russian oligarchs saving his companies, he would backrupt his companies.

    It's not about if, it's about when.

  18. This whole Huawei thing is an attempt by Trump and his administration to protect Apple from competition and the losers are the american consumers. The Huawei smart phones are superior to the Apple smart phones and they are less expensive but we are supposed to tolerate being ripped off by Apple and ignore Huawei and I don't like that one bit!

  19. If someone wants to spy one me, bring it on. I have nothing to hide. Now where can I buy a Huawei phone and get internet service for it? Wait, I forgot, we consumers are to be sacrificed so that Apple can rip us off with their rediciously high prices.

  20. With respect, the same issues here are prevalent in the Iran nuclear deal. Safeguards are important, but trust is more important. If the U.S. can't trust its cosigner on a deal, it's no deal!
    P.S. To all of you people here plugging for China, I call your attention to China's extremely serious human rights abuses. Do you want to live in a world in which China dominates? Not I!

  21. Took Hong Kong as an example, if you want to develop but also enjoy a freedom of speech, there IS NO WAY TO RELY ON CHINA BECAUSE EVENTUALLY THEY CAN TAKE WHATEVER THEY WANT EVEN YPUR LIFES.

  22. It’s just that American goods are not a competitor to Chinese, since the quality is almost the same and the price of Chinese is ten times cheaper.

  23. That CEO talks a lot like Trump. Denying anything they do could be at all wrong without giving any logic or evidence to back it up. Trying to re-characterize things in a way that seem positive "just a tool that shouldn't be politicized".

  24. This was anti-american garbage!

    Journalists who know nothing about telcoms, telling us about telcoms. I WORK IN TELCOMS AND CAN SAY WITHOUT A DOUBT HUAWEI IS A HUGE SECURITY THREAT!

    This video was lies, lies, and lies! Trying to insinuate america just wants to hold power. Absolute BS! There is a real security threat. It is reality.

  25. Even if you are "professionally trained" to lie and cheat, if everyone knows the truth but you just keep going, will you just become a joke and it will harm you instead?

    Europe just started a "war" on US tech giants by requesting moving data back to European companies because "US government can legally request these US tech giants to turn over any data when deemed necessary". The favor is returned this way I guess. It is really not very smart and it is hurting US instead.

  26. The rise of Chinese power is a concern only for American insecurity? Right . . . no other countries should feel insecure about the rising power of China – am I right Vietnam, Japan, S Korea, Hong-Kong, Taiwan and African countries getting loans to increase Chinese influence?
    Dissapointed with The Economist to take this video in this direction.

  27. While the US is spending 700 billions/year on their military budget/wars, China has been investing heavily in infrastructure & technology. Within a few years China GDP will exceed by far the US GDP because of the strength of their manufacturing & large home market which is generating true wealth. US government will need to subsidize technology R&D if it wants to compete with China. None of 5G companies are American (Nokia, Ericsson & Huawei) and banning Huawei will only hurt US economy by delaying the deployment of 5G which will power the next generation of self-driving car & remote surgery amongst other. The NSA & CIA are probably doing a lot more snooping/monitoring of telecommunication networks than the Chinese government. Huawei’s equipment was deemed safe by most EU country security agencies. So, the US should not be scared of Huawei spying on US citizens but it would be a big economic advantage for China though. If the US wants to remain competitive, it has refocus its spending on technology rather than useless military hardware which cannot be used anyway against other nuclear countries like Russia or China. Technology on the other hand create wealth and wealth = power.

  28. Right prior to the ban, the scary thing about Huawei in the tech space was they not only "stole" technology from other companies. They did it better. The build quality was better, the components of higher quality, the smaller bugs ironed out…. For roughly half the price. Huawei was beginning to build a brand image of not a knockoff brand, but of a brand who was able to build the ultimate version of the product at a great price. It's clear why we banned them… they blew American companies out of the water in many segments. We couldn't compete…. We would build some buggy junk smartphone that was super overpriced and slap an apple logo on it. Huawei would take it back.. perfect it, throw higher quality components in it, and slash the price.

  29. To ignore the security aspect would be foolish. These are not plastic toys or pajamas, these are products that can be used for advanced cyberattacks. We have reached the limit of technology which can be trusted by a regime that does not respect in any capacity human rights no matter what is on paper.

  30. Even Huawei is a Chinese company, it said they would open all source codes, CIA, FBI still can plant backdoor firmware. Don't understand their worries.

  31. @ Ciao Chao
    Steal our Technology for profit Chao. You are shameless being here making say US is spying. Huawei Steal and spying is not same. You a thief then come here ranting.

  32. what about youtube fb whatsapp google etc where did all this data of round globe go ?only a theif can understand what is being theft

  33. Well, Trump said how dangerous is the 5G network by Huawei because this is how they used the 4g network. I dont believe the so-called "Spying" is developed from 5g network technology only. US has been using previous network technology like 4g/3g to spy across the world. That is why they knew it can be used to "spy" and how dangerous it is to US, since 5g network will replace the current 4g network by US sooner or later, thus cutting off the spying activities by US govern. Take this straight, 5g just an enhancement of previous 4g/3g network for super high speed bandwidth, near to real time. In term of functionality they still more or less the same. Why should US be afraid of China's "faster network technology" only? Because they knew what 5g can be done, just like what US has been using 4g/3g for.

  34. America is whining that China disagrees on the level of exploitation of their citizens. At least China will use medicines like turkey tail mushroom to help with cancer treatment even if it makes no one any money. Stop all the exploitation.

  35. all war is not whether but about why. WHy sud sterling be higher valued than usa dollar, why sud yen or renminbi be lower in value than usa dollar. The war sud go on for long, beyond 2024

  36. ………. Divided the western alliance?


    Aren't you who aggressively strain your own relationship with those allies?

  37. Trump is correct to be suspicious of China. There was a country in Africa (I believe Nigeria) that actually caught China spying on them through technology that provided them power. China just apologized and said they would stop. But how can you trust that?

  38. The CEO of Huawei should Quite
    I mean even if he's stil Strong that can affect hus health since he's OLD

    Ps: All Respect to this man, cause he still fight for what he built

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