Huawei’s ‘survival’ plan is off to a good start as India clears it for 5G trials

Huawei’s ‘survival’ plan is off to a good start as India clears it for 5G trials
Indian government clears the way for Chinese tech giant Huawei to participate in the country's 5G trialsBusiness Insider India
  • Chinese tech giant Huawei has been cleared for 5G trials in India.
  • The company’s chairman Eric Xu said, "Survival will be our top priority," in a New Year’s note to employees.
  • Even though Huawei will be able to test its technology in India, it remains unclear whether it will actually be allowed to officially set it up once 5G goes live.
Huawei’s had a rough year dealing with the fall out of the US trade ban. In addition to not being able to do business with American companies, the western government has also been lobbying its allies to boycott the Chinese tech giant over national security concerns — and Huawei’s been feeling the crunch.

"Survival will be our first priority," said Huawei Chairman Eric Xu in a New Year’s message addressed to employees. Even though the company’s sales revenue grew by 18% this year, it didn’t manage to reach the $125 billion goal forecast in January. It is a big blow for a company that said it would take the ‘smartphone crown’ from Samsung by 2020.

Huawei’s ‘survival’ plan is off to a good start as India clears it for 5G trials
Huawei chairman Eric XuHuawei

But, better circumstances seem to be on the horizon for next year. Despite US’ attempts to convince India to keep Huawei from deploying its 5G technology in the country — the government has approved the company’s participation in the upcoming 5G trials.
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"All players means all players," said telecom and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday.
The issue of national security

The core issue with Huawei is its close ties with the Chinese government. The US’ ban on doing business with the company was because of paranoia that its equipment could be used to spy on the government and its citizens.

And, the US isn’t alone. Australia and Japan have also banned Huawei from testing its next-generation wireless networks in their countries.

Europe, on the other hand, took a different route. Instead of banning Huawei, it told network operators to scrutinize their own cybersecurity parameters to ensure that’s they’re robust enough to fend off any attempted espionage.

India seems to be doing the same. But, not everyone agrees. Ashwani Mahajan, the national co-convenor of the Swadesh Jagran Manch (SJM), tweeted that India is compromising its national security just because it’s in a rush to launch 5G. He points out that India has more to lose than other countries because it shares a border with China.

Huawei stands innocent till the end

Huawei was charged with 23 indictments for the theft of trade secrets and fraud by the US Department of Justice in January. But the company has continuously denied any wrongdoing and continues to maintain that it’s completely innocent.

In India, Huawei will be allowed to participate in the 5G trials alongside other big wigs like Cisco, Nokia and Ericsson. However, it’s still unclear whether the Chinese company will be allowed to sell its equipment once 5G officially starts rolling out.

Huawei isn’t going to give up without a fight. Cybersecurity and user priority are at the "absolute top" of Huawei’s agenda, according to Xu’s note. "[The company will] continue to adhere to all related laws and regulations in the markets where we operate," he said.

See also:
5G airports, AI-powered safe cities and many more that Huawei has on offer at the India Mobile Congress 2019

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