Huawei Finally Coming to America?

Is the Company’s “Long March” Nearing its End?

It looks like the Chinese telecom giant Huawei might make its oft-delayed entrance to the US market, after what Forbes calls the company’s “Long March”:

For years, the Chinese networking and telecom vendor’s attempt to expand its U.S. presence has been held back in part by security worries stemming from its murky association with the Chinese government. But now, the Shenzhen-based company is said to have won a major U.S. deal: a contract to build the network infrastructure for a cellphone service that Cox Communications plans to launch later this year. Huawei is also a contender to build Clearwire’s 4G network.

I’m keeping a close eye on this story, since making big deals in the US is never an easy task for Chinese multinationals — also, Recent chatter from Britain indicates that British authorities have serious concerns about allowing Huawei to install telecom infrastructure. As the Times points out,

A confidential document circulating in Whitehall says that while BT has taken steps to reduce the risk of attacks by hackers or organised crime, “we believe that the mitigating measures are not effective against deliberate attack by China”.

(…)

A Whitehall report is understood to warn that, although there is at present a “low” risk of China exploiting its capability, “the impact would be very high”.

So who knows? The US contracts might be a financial windfall for Huawei. Or, as was the case in their attempted 3Com deal and Haier’s abortive Maytag deal, security and/or protectionist concerns might threaten to scupper the whole deal. With the British report coinciding with Huawei’s American overtures, it could, quite possbly, go either way.

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