Tech firm to fight ‘defensive’ war amid rising US pressure
Chinese technology giant Huawei said on Monday that Italy’s decision to exclude Huawei from a recent tender to supply 5G technology was a commercial decision rather than geopolitical one.
The comment, coming on the heels of the UK’s decision to ban Huawei from its 5G construction, sends a signal that the embattled tech firm is taking the initiative to minimize the impact of the UK’s decision on other European nations amid a US-led attack on the tech company.
Huawei will continue working with Telecom Italia (TIM) despite the Chinese company was not asked to attend a 5G tender, Luigi De Vecchis, the chairman of the group’s Italian unit, said, NRM learnt.
“We respect the decision, which is of a commercial not political nature that concerns one of the many parts of the network,” he was quoted as saying in the report, while noting that the UK’s ban was in contrast a “geopolitical, not a technological decision.”
Italy – which has built strong economic ties with China and is the first of the G7 nations to join China proposed Belt and Road Initiative – has yet to publicly decide whether to include Huawei in its 5G rollout.
“Huawei is now taking a two-way strategy in European markets. On one hand, it sends a warning to the UK and criticizes the ban. On the other, it aligns with other European nations to prevent their decisions being swayed by that of the British government,” Cui Hongjian, director of EU Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media)
Huawei is adopting a “grasping the large; letting go of the small” attitude in the Europe market – it has to sacrifice some of its core network share in a bid to exchange for keeping its businesses operating in the vast European continent, Jiang, a close follower of Huawei, told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) on Monday
The UK announced on July 14 that it will restrict Huawei from building its 5G networks, reversing a January decision to allow the Chinese tech firm to partially participate. Industry insiders deemed the move as London yielding to US pressure, and US President Donald Trump claimed credit for the UK decision.
Washington hopes it can capitalize by ‘adding flames’ to Europe potentially following in the footsteps of the UK’s Huawei ban. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo kicked off a two-day visit to the UK Monday, where he will discuss certain topics including China with the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Cui said that the second half of 2020 is of vital importance to Huawei in terms of its market share in Europe, so the global 5G frontrunner needs to defend its position in a strategic way.
“It needs to build closer relations with big European nations such as Italy, Germany and France, sometimes with leverage such as expanding investments there. Also, it should cement ties with small- and medium-size EU nations, including Belgium and the Netherlands, to ensure its market share won’t be eroded,” Cui explained.
Belgium Federal Minister for Telecoms Philippe de Backer said last week the country will not join Britain in banning Huawei’s 5G.
Some analysts say it’s impossible that European countries will bow to US political pressure and kick out Huawei.
Ma Jihua, a veteran industry insider and close follower of Huawei, told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) Monday that making use of Huawei’s superior 5G technology is in the best interests of European countries, as a way of showing their diplomatic independence, and such moves may also save them a huge amount of money.
China and EU countries generally have more cooperation than competition in telecom industry with intertwined interests, Ma said, adding that only through cooperation, could telecoms operators like Nokia and Ericsson benefit from each other’s vast markets.
As a key year for 5G network rollout, keeping Huawei in their market is the most effective way of maintaining a leading position in the upcoming 5G era, while ruling out Huawei will bring undesired results, Ma said.
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Huawei said in October that it has signed 91 5G commercial contracts globally, among which more than half came from Europe.