Chinese telecom equipment firm Huawei Technologies Co Ltd (華為) Australia chairman John Lord said yesterday that there are still parts of Australia’s US$38 billion national broadband network (NBN) the company is interested in bidding for, despite a government ban.
Australia has blocked Huawei from tendering for contracts relating to Australia’s NBN because of undefined security concerns.
However, Lord said in a television interview that he still believes portions of Australia’s telecommunications infrastructure should be open to research and technology from outside sources and the company would push ahead for that business.
“Our argument will always be that there are core parts of the national infrastructure that companies like us would not expect to be in,” Lord said in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
“We would still argue that there are parts of the NBN that are perhaps suitable,” he added.
The ban has prompted comment from Australia’s largest trading partner, China.
After news of the ban on Huawei was reported last week, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the Australian government to provide fair market access for Chinese companies.
Huawei has made a submission to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s strategy paper on “Australia in the Asian Century” that argues for bringing technologies into Australia from some “not so traditional sources,” Lord told the ABC.
Lord said he hoped that the decision to exclude Huawei from tendering for Australia’s NBN was based on national interest and not because it was Huawei or a Chinese company.
Huawei started its Australian operations in 2004 and has expanded its business across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
The company was founded by its chief executive Ren Zhengfei (任正非) a former officer in the People’s Liberation Army, a fact that has fueled claims that he has a cosy relationship with the Chinese government — a claim denied by the company.
The Shenzhen-based firm, like cross-town rival ZTE Corp, has been struggling to expand into the US, which blocked its telecom equipment deals citing national security concerns and allegations the company violated sanctions by supplying Iran with censorship equipment.