Australia Markets close in 2 hrs 44 mins

Now Britain is the latest to make Huawei pay for its suspect technology

Christian Edwards
* Huawei Australia on Tuesday moved to assure its regional customers that US actions against the company will not impact services in Australia. * Friction between the Trump administration and Huawei heightened last week after the US Department of Commerce placed Huawei on a blacklist which prevents the company from buying parts and components from American companies without US government approval. * Google responded to the ban by reportedly suspending its business with Huawei and dropping its licensing on Android, which prevents Huawei users from receiving critical updates. * * *Huawei Australia on Tuesday moved to assure its regional customers that US actions against the company will not impact services in Australia. The US has ramped up action against Huawei – the world’s largest telecommunications equipment producer – over concerns that its technology may be used as a backdoor for spying by the Chinese government. Huawei has repeatedly denied the allegations. But friction between the Trump administration and Huawei heightened last week, after the US Department of Commerce added Huawei to a trade blacklist, which prevents the company from buying parts and components from American companies without US government approval. The move could have a dramatic effect on Huawei’s operations, as the company relies heavily on US components.Google responded to the ban by reportedly suspending its business with Huawei and dropping its licensing on Android, which prevents users from receiving critical updates. But Huawei said the ban won't cut off its existing customers, who will still have access to key Google services like the Google Play Store and Google Maps, and told Business Insider that it would be rolling out its own updates for new phones in the future. Other US tech suppliers – like Intel and Qualcomm, which provide crucial software and parts to Huawei phones and tablets – have also reportedly cut ties with the Chinese company. Director of Corporate Affairs for Huawei Australia Jeremy Mitchell said in a statement that friction between the company and Google will not impact Australian consumers. “We want to assure Huawei customers in Australia that the US actions involving Google will not impact consumers with a Huawei smartphone or tablet or those that are planning to buy a Huawei device in the near future from an Australian retail outlet," he said."Consumers with Huawei devices will still receive security updates and be able to use Google apps. Huawei will continue to provide after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally."He added that Australian customers will be able to continue using Google apps and services, and Google's Android updates will continue to be provided on Huawei EMUI, the company's custom mobile operating system used in most devices."As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry. We will continue to prioritize the development and use of the Android ecosystem," Mitchell said. "Huawei will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally."Google also said it would continue to support current Huawei devices. "We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications. For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices," a Google spokesperson told Gizmodo Australia in a statement.According to Gizmodo Australia, this could be a sign that Huawei is gearing up to separate from the Android system in a similar vein to Apple. Huawei is said to be developing its own mobile operating system, reportedly called “HongMeng OS,” which it considers a "plan B" option should Google ever completely sever ties.

Britain may become the latest among the Western alliance nations to ban China's global telecom giant Huawei from involvement in any future tech projects, according to a Friday report in the British tabloid, The Sun. Huawei and Chinese firms like it are set to be legally blocked from participating in any 5G mobile networks rollouts in the UK and all "strategically significant" technology, The Sun reports. The report is another blow to the former flagship for Chinese mobile technology. The new laws on foreign investment in the UK will reportedly come into effect when the current European Union legislation no longer applies, should Brexit go ahead as planned at the end of March.

New laws in Britain would make the country the latest among the Western alliance nations to ban China's global telecom giant Huawei from involvement in any future tech projects, according to a Friday report in the British tabloid The Sun.

The new laws on foreign investment in the UK will be implemented to replace the current European Union legislation that will no longer apply to public procurement, if and when Brexit comes into effect.

The Sun reports that those changes will permit the British government to ban Huawei and firms like it from access and involvement in sensitive UK tech projects, the newspaper reported on Friday.

According to The Sun, there are fears within and without British government that leaving the door ajar for Huawei and other Chinese telecom technology producers — particularly when it comes to the rollout of next generation 5G mobile networks.

The Sun reports that government figures worry it would amount to Britain letting China spy on UK citizen's "private lives and hack UK companies at will."

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson are reportedly among those concerned about the Chinese firm's reach.

READ MORE: The US has formally requested to extradite Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou from Canada

Williamson has previously warned of "malign activity" by the Chinese government through Huawei's 5G network, which he said poses serious risks to the country's national security, according to The Independent.

Last month, The US Justice Department formally charged the Chinese tech giant with bank fraud and conspiring to steal trade secrets.

Huawei's ostracizing by Western governments and the detention in Canada of its CFO Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, at the behest of the US, has outraged China and complicated trade negotiations between the two quarreling superpowers.

Guo Ping, Huawei's rotating chairman, said in a New Year address to employees, titled Fire is the Test of Gold, that while the company hit some challenges in 2018, revenue still grew by more than 20% year-on-year to $108.5 billion.

"The bigger the challenge is, the bigger the honor is," Ping said.