News | Published May 27 2019

China suggests Huawei 5G ban could affect UK investment

Earlier this week, Chinese diplomat suggested that there could be significant investment implications for the UK if Huawei were to be blocked from Britain’s 5G network.

The announcement comes as tensions between the technology firm and Western governments continues to grow.

The company is the world’s largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment.

Chen Wen, the Chinese chargé d'affaires in London, raised concerns over the future of Chinese investment in the UK.

When speaking to the BBC’s World at One programme, she suggested that already Beijing had “witnessed some conscious moves” to reduce investment towards the UK.

Some countries remain apprehensive that Huawei equipment contains ‘backdoors’ that allow the Chinese government to snoop on customers.

The US has already placed Huawei on an “entity list” meaning that other US companies need special permission from the government before being allowed to deal with them. Officials blamed national security concerns for the move.

Earlier in the week ARM, a Cambridge-based chip designer announced it would no longer be working with Huawei to comply with the recent US trade controls.

ARM’s designs form the basis of most processors in mobile devices worldwide.

EE also announced that its range of 5G phones would not include Huawei models, and Google has barred the smartphone maker from several updates to the Android operating system.

Huawei’s involvement in establishing Britain’s 5G network is yet to be announced.

Details from a meeting leaked last month suggested that the UK will ban the company from core parts of the project, although they may allow them to supply non-core components such as antenna masts.

Chen maintained that any investment from Huawei was “a vote of confidence in the UK economy”.

Photo credit: Karlis Dambrans

Authored by

Alice Campbell
May 27 2019

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