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June 3, 2009 10:46 pm
China’s Huawei has complained that unfounded national security concerns in India are jeopardising its growing success in the country.
Vikas Dewan, Huawei’s India sales head, told the Financial Times at a conference in Beijing that the telecoms equipment maker was the only qualified bidder in a tender for mobile network equipment in southern India from state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.
He said the $1.7bn tender was still ongoing but he was concerned by Indian media reports suggesting that giving contracts to Huawei would constitute a national security risk because of the company’s alleged Chinese military background.
“As we are getting big enough to trouble our biggest competitors, there are allegations emerging similar to those we faced in the US,” Mr Dewan said. Analysts said $2bn of Huawei’s $18.3bn global revenues last year came from India.
Huawei, a privately-held company, says it is mainly owned by its employees and Ren Zhengfei, its founder, now owns less than 2 per cent.
However, the fact that Mr Ren is a former officer of the People’s Liberation Army, and that Huawei does not publish detailed information on its shareholding structure, has fuelled speculation of close links with the Chinese military.
Any evidence of ties with the Chinese military would be sensitive in India. Delhi has waged war with China in the past over border disputes in its northern Himalayan region and it distrusts Beijing over its ties with Pakistan.
Kuldeep Goyal, chairman and managing director of BSNL, told the FT he did not expect problems with Huawei’s bid for the southern region.
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