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Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecoms equipment maker, on Monday hit back at concerns voiced by Indian intelligence services about its potential links with the Chinese military, insisting it was “an international and transparent company”.
Responding to a report on the Indian worries in the Financial Times, the Shenzhen-based group said in an e-mailed statement that it was “committed to the Indian market and participates and invests for the development of India’s telecom industry”.
The statement did not address directly the question of its links to the military, saying only that it was “100 per cent employee-owned”.
Indian officials’ reservations reflect rumours that have circulated for years about Huawei. Ren Zhengfei, one of Huawei’s founders who is now its president, is a former officer in the People’s Liberation Army.
These rumours have continued even as Huawei has made efforts to improve the transparency of its operations.
Huawei is aggressivelyexpanding into international markets, often offering significantly lower prices than its competitors. These tactics have brought it to the attention of US and European telecoms equipment makers.
It has recently begun to step up its expansion in Europe, where last December it won a contract to build a third-generation mobile network for Telfort, the Dutch mobile operator subsequently acquired by KPN. Earlier this year, BT chose Huawei as a supplier of networking gear.
The group has invested about $100m in India and employs more than 1,000 people at its research and development centre there.
Ross O’Brien, head of telecoms at Intercedent Asia, a consultancy, said: “When you’re a developing country trying to emulate China’s growth in building telecommunications infrastructure, the last thing you want to do is exclude one of the biggest contributors to that growth.” Huawei’s contracted sales rose 45 per cent to Rmb46.2bn ($5.58bn) last year.