Tech

China warns of U.S. protectionism after Huawei setback

China warns of U.S. protectionism after Huawei setback

US lawmakers in December inked a letter to the Federal Communications Commission that outlined longstanding concerns that Huawei's products could be used to spy on the USA and the company's presumed ties to the Chinese government. But a number of politicians reject the deal and question online security in the United States. A second deal is also looking shaky. But then Yu broke from the script addressing telecom giant AT&T's last minute decision to pull out of a deal to carry Huawei phones in the U.S.

AT&T was said to have a deal lined up with Huawei to sell the Mate 10, but has since changed its plans, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

The expected partnership was supposed to be announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas, Nevada, along with the US introduction of Huawei's upcoming flagship phone model. According to a Reuter's report, AT&T was pressured after members of the U.S. Senate and House Intelligence Committees sent a letter last month to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission citing concerns over espionage. I think is a quite big loss for us and also for carriers.

It's awkward timing for Huawei, which showed off the Mate 10 Pro at the tech show CES this week.

At CES, an angry Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei, admitted the end of the AT&T deal was a loss for the company, "but the more big loss is for consumers, because consumers don't have the best choice". Most US consumers don't buy unlocked phones, though, instead going through carriers to buy new phones.

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Huawei said it would sell the Mate 10 Pro in the U.S. unlocked, meaning it won't be attached to any particular carrier. It has also made strong inroads in the United Kingdom and is the third-biggest brand behind Samsung and Apple, according to Counterpoint.

This isn't the first time U.S. politicians have suspected Huawei of being a security threat, though they have never offered proof in public.

In 2012, Huawei and ZTE Corp (000063.SZ) (0763.HK) were the subject of a US investigation into whether their equipment provided an opportunity for foreign espionage and threatened critical USA infrastructure - a link that Huawei has consistently denied.

Huawei later extended its legal action to courts in Beijing and Quanzhou, of East China's Fujian province. The UK's security watchdog also anxious about a telecoms equipment deal between BT and Huawei.