Huawei, a China-based company and currently the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, is so fed up with accusations of spying that it’s looking to exit the U.S. market. Over the past several months, security officials in the U.S. have challenged Huawei over concerns the company’s equipment allows unauthorized access by the Chinese government and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Huawei has denied any wrongdoing, even though its CEO, Ren Zhengfei, once had ties to the PLA back in the 1980s.
According to Zhengfei, speaking with Foreign Policy, it’s no longer worth the trouble if the U.S. is going to constantly badger the company. “If Huawei gets in the middle of U.S.-China relations, it’s not worth it,” Zhengfei said. “There, we have decided to exit the U.S. market, and not stay in the middle.”
In addition to spying accusations, Huawei has also been accused of corruption, bribery and immigration violations, and all around making gains through dishonest means. Huawei isn’t only having issues here in the U.S., but all over the world, with the U.K., India and Australia have been but a few that have raised concerns. In response, Huawei has tried being more open about its operations, though many facets of the company are still very secretive. According to an earlier report from The Economist, Huawei once boasted to the Iranian government that its equipment makes it easier to spy.
While Zhengfei has voiced his support for exiting the U.S. market, not everyone at Huawei is ready to leave just yet. Huawei vice president William Plummer apparently said the company has merely adjusted its priority to Europe, and added that Zhengfei was just commenting “on the current market environment,” in an interview with Foreign Policy. Even if Huawei does stick around, it doesn’t sound like many higher ups in the U.S. want the company to stay.
Mike Rogers, U.S. House Intelligence Committee chairman, once said Huawei products “cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United State and to our systems.” Spying or not, those are some pretty hefty accusations.