Talk to Al Jazeera

Andy Purdy: Why the US is so concerned about Huawei

Huawei’s CSO discusses why the Chinese company is regarded as a cybersecurity threat by the White House.

It’s the world’s number-one telecom gear supplier and number-two smartphone vendor after South Korea’s Samsung.

Huawei’s revenue grew almost 20 percent in 2018, surpassing $100bn for the first time.

But the Chinese technology company is at the centre of the trade war between China and the United States.

Huawei is blacklisted by the White House, and US President Donald Trump said: “Huawei is something that’s very dangerous. You look at what they’ve done from a security standpoint, from a military standpoint, it’s very dangerous.”

Why is Huawei regarded as cybersecurity threat by the US? And is it an independent company or an arm of the Chinese government?

“Right now, we have a geopolitical war between the US and China, and as the largest privately owned company in China and active in telecommunication markets in 170 countries …. we are kind of caught in the middle,” Huawei’s chief security officer in the US, Andy Purdy, tells Al Jazeera. 

“A number of government people have said it (the Huawei ban) is not really about the company, it’s about the country, China. So, I think the fact that we are based in China raises some concerns … The US is deeply concerned about China and the rise of China economically and militarily. And the US liked the world better when the US was still alone, as the powerhouse militarily and economically,” Purdy says. 

“We seem to be being used as a sort of bargaining chip in a way as part of the China-US trade talks. And we don’t want to be a bargaining chip. Because the China government doesn’t speak through us and we don’t want to speak through the Chinese government.”

On this episode of Talk to Al Jazeera, Andy Purdy, Huawei’s chief security officer in the US, discusses the Huawei ban and the issues behind it.