The British government asked Japan to help build its 5G wireless networks without Huawei Technologies Co (華為), the Nikkei daily said yesterday, a further step in a global technology and security dispute between the US and China.
Britain named NEC Corp and Fujitsu Ltd as potential alternative suppliers to Huawei, the business daily reported, without citing sources.
British officials met with their counterparts in Tokyo on Thursday, two days after Britain ordered Huawei equipment purged from its 5G networks by the end of 2027, the Nikkei said.
As Britain prepares to leave the EU, fears over the security of Huawei have forced British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to choose between the US and China, weighing a critical alliance against billions in investment.
The Nikkei said the latest move reflects Britain’s effort to bring in new equipment suppliers to foster competition and help reduce costs for the country’s wireless carriers.
The British embassy in Tokyo and Fujitsu did not immediately respond to e-mail or text inquiries yesterday. Japan’s Cabinet Secretariat and NEC did not answer calls. Huawei and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs had no immediate comment.
British Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden last week said Britain was working with its allies to foster stronger rivals to Huawei, naming firms from Finland, Sweden, South Korea and Japan.
Meanwhile, TikTok suspended talks to build a global headquarters in the UK, and Chinese Communist Party officials in Beijing have warned British companies doing business in China that they are set to face retaliation over the government’s decision to stop working with Huawei, the Sunday Times reported.
ByteDance Ltd (字節跳動), parent company of the video app, had been in talks with officials from the UK Department for International Trade and with Johnson’s Downing Street office for several months, the newspaper reported. The new base was set to create 3,000 jobs.
Separately, the Japanese government is considering having Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) ally with a local maker or research institution as part of plan to boost its chip industry with foreign partnership, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported yesterday, without saying where it got the information.
Under the plan, the government could offer funding support totaling several ￥100 billion provided the overseas maker initiated a joint development project with local partnerships, the report said, potentially having factories built in Japan.
Through the partnership, the government aims to secure the state-of-the-art technology to meet the increasing needs to have its own production capacity for sensitive products that could affect its national security, according to the report.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
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