Huawei and the 5G Controversy

Most people know Huawei for its bevy of impressive and exciting phones. Their Mate series phones are dazzlingly beautiful with impressive features. There’s a reason why Huawei keeps growing their global revenue.

But it isn’t all good news for the company. If you have been following business news, you’ll know that Huawei is a controversial company. Many western countries, like the United States, are worried that Huawei equipment and phones pose a security risk. They claim that Chinese companies, subject to Chinese surveillance laws, are a backdoor risk to the data transmitting through their devices and over their networks. 

Questions About Huawei

The questions about Huawei begin with more general questions about China. According NPR, hacks originating in China have stolen intellectual property to the tune of $57 billion a year. The news site claims that there has been a steady drip of stolen intellectual property that undermines how companies from the rest of the globe can do their business. 

Huawei, themselves, haven’t escaped the same criticism. The company has been accused of stealing intellectual property in a couple of cases. In 2003, according to Computerworld, Cisco sued Huawei, because they downloaded some of Cisco’s proprietary software and infringed on several of their patents. 

In 2018, CNEX, a US startup founded by former Huawei employees, accused Huawei of stealing some of its technology. 

Surveillance And The China

Most of the questions, however, focus on Huawei’s possible relationship with the Chinese government. CNET published a timeline of the controversies surrounding the company, and it is riddled with accusations from the FBI, CIA, and the Trump administration.

They all say the same thing. Huawei’s connection to the Chinese government and their authoritarian rule makes it too dangerous to send intellectual property and state secrets through their equipment and devices. Many countries agree, and they are banning Huawei technology. 

The Case For Huawei 5G

But the case is far from a slam dunk. No government has revealed any solid evidence, no smoking gun, that Huawei has done what US officials accuse. While some companies have found backdoors, no one has seen anything that definitely proves it. 

The CEO, Ren Zhengfei, told the BBC that the fears of Chinese surveillance are not true. He claims that Huawei would never turn over sensitive personal information or state secrets, because Huawei would lose all its customers. He claims that the company cares about privacy.

Huawei is also important in the coming 5G revolution. They are the world’s leader in 5G, both in devices and network equipment, and they charge about 10% less than their competitors. Countries that have a ban on Huawei’s 5G technology in their networks face falling behind in their race to implement 5G. Huawei responds to their accusers by saying that the US and other countries are only banning their technology, because their native companies can’t keep up. To them, these bans are just a way to turn away the competition while local tech companies research.


The future of 5G and Huawei are unclear for now. Ren is confident that the current bans won’t slow his company down. He told the BBC, “There’s no way the US can crush us. The world needs Huawei because we are more advanced.” 

But the US and her allies are struggling to balance the security risks and the possible benefits of better 5G technology. Time will tell whether this Chinese company will be able to reassure the west that Huawei won’t be an access point for the Chinese government, so they can gain access to the world’s networks. 


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About the Author: James H.

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