Why has Huawei in US been facing a ban by the intelligence agencies? Well, if you an American who is fond of Huawei smartphones then this post could be a deal breaker for you.
The top U.S based intelligence agencies, including but not limited to, FBI, NSA, and CIA have warned American citizens against purchasing or using China’s Huawei phones. According to a report published by CNBC, the heads of these major intelligence agencies have also warned the citizens from buying using products or services made by both Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE.
These intelligence agencies have cited ‘undetected espionage’ as their major concern against the Chinese companies.
Huawei and ZTE Banned Together
During a recent hearing, Chris Wray, the FBI Director, testified about his concern of the telecommunications company. He expressed that the US government was severely concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity bound to foreign governments that don’t share their values to hold power over their telecommunications networks. He further added that the Chinese company would gain the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information through their smartphones and even conduct undetected espionage.
You would be surprised to know that these warnings given by the heads of the intelligence agencies are nothing new. The US intelligence community has been cautious of Huawei for a long time now. Back in 2012, a House Intelligence Committee cited both the Chinese companies as a potential security risk for having close ties to the Chinese government. This led to them being barred from selling products and services to the US government. Huawei was officially banned from bidding on contracts offered by the US government.
The possible reason that prompted the ban was the company’s founder itself who formerly worked in China’s People’s Liberation Army. He has been repeatedly described as ‘an effective arm of the Chinese government’ by most of the US politicians. They believe Huawei has strong ties with the Chinese government which could pose a serious cybersecurity threat to their US telecommunication network.
Therefore, despite gaining spectacular success in rest of the continents, Huawei has not been able to fully conquer the US market. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Huawei in US still has a bleak future.
Huawei Phones Success Story
Speaking of Huawei’s accomplishments, it has been termed as the second biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world, after Samsung. Last year in September, it successfully managed to surpass even Apple and scored the second spot. Though Huawei started off as a telecoms firm, developing hardware for communications infrastructure, its smartphones have left a mark on millions of users across the globe. After Samsung, consumers have shown preference towards Huawei’s smartphones as per the recent buying trends.
Regardless of becoming an instant hit with the consumers, the company has still not been able to make its way into the American market. Had US government not shown hostility towards the company, its sales would have been remarkably increased.
Obstacles for the new Huawei’s Smartphone
Two months back, Huawei had planned to launch its latest product, Mate 10 Pro flagship smartphone in the US market through AT&T but failed to do so. As per reports, the carrier pulled out of the deal at the last minute due to insistent political pressure from the US government.
This decision put the company in a sudden shock. The shock was quite evident because, during a speech at CES, Huawei’s CEO Richard Yu went off-script and described the move as a big loss for the company but a bigger loss for the consumers.
Despite being turned down by AT&T, Huawei did not stop from trying to sell its Mate 10 Pro unlocked version in the US. However, this effort has made the company seeking for desperate measures, putting it into the more hot water. The company has solicited more than hundred fake reviews on Best Buy’s website to entice the beta testers. Many users have been asked to post fake positive reviews for the respective handset.
Things are still bleak for Huawei’s plans to enter the US market because US lawmakers have been currently considering to pass a bill that would ban US government employees from using products and services by Huawei and ZTE altogether.
In the same hearing where heads of US intelligence agencies were invited to express their concerns over the matter, Republican Senator Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee articulated his opinion by saying that the focus of his concern was China and specifically Chinese telecom companies like Huawei and ZTE that have been considered to have strong ties to the Chinese government.
When Huawei was asked for a response to these comments made by the heads of American intelligence agencies, one of its spokesperson told CNBC that Huawei is already aware of a range of US government activities that have been trying to inhibit Huawei’s business in the US market. He further mentioned that the company is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries across the world and poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor, sharing as they do common global supply chains and production capabilities.
Following this response, ZTE also came out with an official statement on the recent comments, stating: ‘As a publicly traded company, we are committed to adhering to all applicable laws and regulations of the United States, work with carriers to pass strict testing protocols, and adhere to the highest business standards. ZTE takes cybersecurity and privacy seriously and remains a trusted partner to our US suppliers, US customers and the people who use our products.’
Huawei in US – Still a Bleak Future?
With Huawei trying its best to clear out all the misconceptions circulating about its brand image and being called an alleged spy smartphone, we can only hope things turn out better for them. In all honesty, the products offered by this company are extraordinarily remarkable and they also have the potential of becoming the top mobile phone manufacturer in the near future, surpassing Samsung and Apple.
Having said that, if you already own a Huawei smartphone and have become doubtful of a cybersecurity risk, then it’s better to switch to another smartphone when your upgrade is available. However, it’s worth adding that US intelligence agencies have not been able to prove the allegations made against Huawei. Until that happens, ideally, one should not discard using their phones. Let’s hope Huawei phones find an acceptance in the US market someday.