Fri, May 24, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Panasonic latest firm to shun Huawei

US PRESSURE:A South Korean newspaper cited a diplomatic source as saying the US has been lobbying Seoul not to use Huawei products due to security concerns

AFP, TOKYO

Japan’s Panasonic Corp yesterday said it would stop supplying some components to Huawei Technologies Co (華為), joining a growing list of companies distancing themselves from the Chinese telecoms giant after a US ban over security concerns.

Japan’s Toshiba Corp also announced it was temporarily halting shipments to Huawei to check whether US-made parts were involved, to comply with Washington’s new restrictions.

The moves came a day after major Japanese and British mobile carriers said they would delay releasing new Huawei handsets, upping the pressure on the world’s second-largest smartphone manufacturer.

In an official statement e-mailed to reporters, Panasonic said it had announced in an “internal notification” that it would “suspend transactions with Huawei and its 68 affiliates that were banned by the US government.”

It declined to comment on “other transactions that are not banned by the US.”

Asked about its opinion about the news, Huawei pointed to a statement on Panasonic’s Chinese Web site that said the firm was supplying Huawei “normally” and doing so “strictly abiding by the relevant laws and regulations of countries and regions where Panasonic is present.”

Washington’s restrictions affect products made fully or partially in the US, where Panasonic manufactures some of its components.

Toshiba said it had temporarily stopped shipments to Huawei while it checks if they include parts that were made in the US.

“We will resume shipments if we confirm our products don’t use American-made parts,” spokesman Takashi Ebina said.

Last week, US President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to bar US companies from using foreign telecoms equipment deemed a security risk. The move appeared aimed at Huawei, though the White House said no particular company or country was targeted.

The US Department of Commerce has also announced an effective ban on US companies selling or transferring US technology to Huawei.

The moves have prompted a parade of firms to step back from dealings with Huawei, including Google, whose Android operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones.

On Wednesday, mobile carriers in Japan and Britain said they were delaying releases of Huawei handsets.

Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) denounced the US moves and said Beijing would “fight to the very end” in its trade war with Washington.

“The US use of state power to arbitrarily exert pressure on a private Chinese company like Huawei is typical economic bullying,” Wang said on Wednesday at a meeting in Kyrgyzstan.

Telecoms giant EE, owned by BT, had been due to bring Huawei’s first 5G phone, the Huawei Mate 20X, to Britain, but chief executive Marc Allera on Wednesday said the company had “paused” the launch.

The delay would last “until we get the information and confidence and the long-term security that our customers ... are going to be supported,” he said.

The group also said it would phase out the use of Huawei equipment in the most sensitive “core” elements of its network infrastructure.

Vodafone soon followed suit, announcing a temporary suspension of pre-orders for Huawei handsets.

The BBC reported British firm ARM, which designs processors used in most mobile devices, would also cut ties with Huawei

Analysts say the restrictions could be seriously damaging for the Chinese firm, with the pullback by Google and ARM likely to be “particularly troubling” for the telecoms giant.

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