Huawei Ramps Up U.S Legal Media Fight
Huawei has filed a class action against the United States that challenges law surrounding the limitations of the sale of Huawei telecommunications equipment in the U.S. The Chinese company is the biggest global maker of network gear and sales of consumer electronics in smartphones.
In August 2018, United States National Defence Authorisation Act banned Huawei from being used in the U.S, citing security concerns. This was due to allegations pertaining to Huawei obtaining data in the U.S and presenting its findings to the Chinese government. Since the announcement, various U.S based companies, namely Google, froze their relationship and business with Huawei to comply with regulations. Google removed its licensing for updates with regards to the android operating system on Huawei phones which took a big hit on the company.
Alongside Ericsson and Qualcomm, Huawei aims to be the main supplier for network infrastructure in the race to build 5G networks around the world but with these recent allegations and restrictions, Huawei are now suffering and have now refocused their intentions on the U.S government – in court.
While adhering to Chinese operations, it is a requirement for Chinese companies to comply and leak information to governing bodies, if required. China has a direct pipeline to the USA in the form of cell towers owned by Huawei. Many analysts and reporters have begun to observe that these sanctions extend beyond technology, but more so to do with Trump’s trade war with China. Trump has reiterated that a better and more favourable trade deal with the U.S will include sanctions being lifted on Huawei.
U.S-China Trade War
The US-China trade war has raised significant concerns around the globe and has had many impacts in the technology sector. U.S President Donald Trump has put Huawei part of a blacklist or ‘entity list’ that includes companies or products that the U.S cannot work with. It raises questions due to the fact that this discovery was made in 2018.
Is this just a ploy to place increased pressure on China?
Huawei has been a tech champion for China over the years and this ban will mean U.S consumers will buy less Huawei products, further damaging the business. Since the black list, Huawei’s founder and CEO, Ren Zhengfei has said that the U.S’ actions will slow growth for their products and sales however remains optimistic that they will work around and continue to dominate the technology sector. Ren strongly believes that the black list was driven by political motivation and nothing more.
Huawei’s suppliers are currently scrambling to see how they will be affected by the Trump administration’s ban. Trump is strongly urging Europe and surrounding Asian countries to uphold the same ban, with Japan currently observing the situation and will act in due time. If there is an agreement between U.S and China for trade, we will most likely see the ban on Huawei to be lifted.
Battle for Huawei’s life
Huawei is ramping up its legal challenge on purchases on equipment, showing that they will not quietly negotiate, claiming that they will double down on battling the court system. This will give Huawei a chance to come forward to the public to plead its innocence which can result in public backlash in the U.S. Huawei’s chief legal officer, Song Liuping, has said that banning Huawei’s products from the U.S would not make its network more secure and says that there is no evidence to show that Huawei is a security threat. The lawsuit will aim to challenge part of the National Defence Authorisation Act 2019 – Government agencies are barred from contracting with Huawei or using the company’s equipment. Song argues that the ban is unconstitutional as it singles out Huawei as a threat without giving a chance to appeal. To give light to the Chinese and American media, Huawei argued that growing limits on American purchases of Huawei equipment hurt American consumers.
Song reiterates that the blacklisting took away the freedom of choice for American consumers and would damage a large portion American companies that purchase Huawei tech. He’s not wrong – this ban will severely affect rural areas in America that gain wireless internet through Huawei technology.
The people of China have reacted very positively throughout the ban. They have started to drop purchases of iPhones and increase purchases of Huawei’s smartphones to show consolidation. Through media and governance, President Trump aims to deteriorate China’s global influence through the means of trade wars and blacklisting, however, we are yet to see how this pans out for Huawei as China is holding firm on their stance of the matter.
By Rizwan Sayeed
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