Huawei Rotating Chairman Ken Hu held a press conference with leading global media at the company’s new campus in Dongguan on Tuesday, December 18. The journalists visited R&D labs showcasing materials and thermal management technologies developed for 5G equipment, as well as an independent cybersecurity lab.
Hu delivered strong messages of confidence in Huawei’s business growth and prospects, citing the trust of hundreds of network operators, nearly half of the world’s Fortune 500 companies, and hundreds of millions of consumers. Huawei’s 2018 revenue, he said, was expected to exceed US$100 billion.
He also directly addressed recent allegations against Huawei, stating that it is best to let facts speak for themselves, while emphasizing repeatedly that the company’s security record was clean. Hu noted that there have been no serious cybersecurity incidents in 30 years.
Here are some highlights from the press conference (full transcript below):
- On 5G – Huawei has secured 25 commercial contracts, ranking number one among all ICT equipment providers, having already shipped more than 10,000 base stations to markets around the world. Almost all network customers have indicated they want Huawei, which is currently the market leader with the best equipment and will remain so for at least the next 12 to 18 months, for faster and more cost-effective upgrades to 5G. Some security concerns based on the technology for 5G were very legitimate, noted Hu, but able to be clarified or mitigated through collaboration with operators and governments.
“Rare cases” have arisen where some countries are using 5G issues as an excuse for groundless speculation based on “ideological or geopolitical considerations”. Security concerns disingenuously raised as excuses to block market competition would slow adoption of new technology, increase costs for network deployment, and raise prices for consumers. If Huawei were allowed to compete in the US for 5G deployment from 2017 to 2020, around US$20 billion of capital expenditure in wireless infrastructure would be saved, according to some economists.
- Cyber security – Security is Huawei’s highest priority and it overarches everything. Hu was open to a question about building cyber security evaluation centers in places such as the US and Australia, pointing to similar centers in the UK, Canada, and Germany that are designed to directly identify, address, and mitigate concerns. Huawei has subjected itself to the strictest reviews and screening by regulators and customers, while expressing understanding of legitimate concerns that some stakeholders might have.
However, no evidence indicates that Huawei equipment poses a security threat. Regarding often-quoted concerns over Chinese law, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in China had formally clarified that no law requires companies to install mandatory backdoors. Huawei remains open to concerns about its openness, transparency, and independence as well as dialogue. Any proof or evidence could be shared with telecom operators, if not to Huawei or the public at large.
- Compliance – Some journalists asked about Huawei’s CFO, Ms. Meng Wanzhou. Hu said he was unable to comment due to legal processes underway, but he did express that business operations were not being impacted by this event. Executive travel plans were not impacted, and Huawei remains very confident about its trade compliance system, which has been running since 2007. The company has confidence in the fairness and independence of the judicial systems in Canada and the US.
Hu described the company’s recent achievements as exciting, and recalled his almost 30-year history with Huawei during which its people, culture and management had grown. “This is journey of transformation that has helped us grow up from an unknown vendor to the 5G leader”. He also recognized that Huawei still faces challenges, thanking the media for interest in dialogue and appealing to employees, customers, and stakeholders.
“I’d like to share a saying from Romain Rolland”, Hu said in his closing remarks, echoing the words of the celebrated French writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915.
“‘There is only one heroism in the world: to see the world as it is, and to love it’. At Huawei, we see what we have encountered, and we still love the work we are doing. Similarly, in Chinese, we have a saying: 道阻且长，行且将至. It means that the road ahead is long and hard, but we will keep moving and reach the destination, because we have already embarked on this journey”.