Xu Zhijun, the Deputy Chairman of Huawei, and its current rotating CEO, has warned that China cannot secure its cyber borders by excluding foreign technology firms. Xu, also known as Eric Xu to Western audiences, told Reuters that the Chinese government’s “localization” rules would slow the pace of Chinese innovation, making the country more vulnerable in the longer term.
If we’re not open, if we don’t bring in the world’s best technology, we’ll never have true information security…
The only way you can answer the security problem is to keep improving your technology.
Huawei would benefit from barriers to foreign competitors, but Xu wondered if this was “good money replacing bad money or bad money replacing good money?”
Protectionism and national security are sensitive topics for Huawei, which was labelled a risk to US security in a 2012 US Congressional report. Xu highlighted the danger that if China closes its market, then Europe and other regions may respond in kind.
Xu went on to compare Huawei’s situation in the US with how it had been accepted in the UK (their UK HQ is pictured above). Huawei successfully allayed the fears of British customers and government by creating a separate Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC), tasked to assure the security of Huawei’s technology. Whilst it might be questioned how independent HCSEC can be, a recent audit by Ernst & Young concluded that “there were no major concerns about the independent operation of HCSEC”. Excerpts from the report are available from the UK government.
Though Xu did not comment on his hopes for entering the US telecoms market, he did observe that…
our problem in America isn’t about the carriers not wanting to work with us.