Thu, Jan 16, 2014 - Page 15 News List

China’s Huawei rejects reports of security weakness

AP, BEIJING

Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies (華為) yesterday rejected suggestions its telecommunications equipment is vulnerable to hacking and forecast a rise in last year’s profit of nearly 50 percent.

Chief financial officer Cathy Meng (孟晚舟) rejected as “groundless” reports that Huawei equipment might be more vulnerable to security threats than telecom infrastructure made by other companies.

The German magazine Der Spiegel reported last month that the US National Security Agency installed secret “back doors” in telecom equipment made by Huawei and other companies. Earlier, some researchers said they found vulnerabilities in Huawei routers.

“We have seen no incidents on networks due to security problems,” Meng said at a news conference. “A lot of reports say Huawei equipment has more vulnerabilities or is more easily breached. These reports are groundless.”

Huawei, founded in 1987, has rejected security risk claims as trade protectionism that it says hurts US consumers by limiting competition and raising the cost of telecom equipment.

Huawei, the first Chinese firm to break into the top ranks of global technology companies, is privately held, but has released more financial details in recent years in an effort to win greater acceptance abroad.

The company expects an operating profit of 28.6 billion yuan to 29.4 billion yuan (US$4.8 billion to US$4.9 billion) for last year, said Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei (任正非). That would be an increase of 43 to 47 percent over the previous year’s operating profit of 19.96 billion yuan.

Last year’s revenue rose 8 percent to about 240 billion yuan, Meng said, adding that revenue was forecast to rise by a similar rate of 8 to 10 percent annually over the next five years.

The company, based in the southern city of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, says it serves 45 of the world’s 50 biggest telecom carriers. Meng said that Huawei equipment is used in 110 of 244 commercial 4G mobile phone networks worldwide, including in cities such as London, Zurich and Hong Kong.

The company has promised to release a list of shareholders and their stakes, which might help to clarify who controls the company.

Meng said the board of directors has agreed to such a step and is seeking approval from employees who own shares.

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