China introduced its twelfth five year plan last week – the fact that it still has five year plans should make the rest of the world, particularly the USA, sit up and listen most carefully. Does the USA have a five year plan, or the UK? No way. And China has also recently overtaken Japan to become the second largest economy in the world.
All this is against a background that includes abominable human right violations, a carefully controlled press, and an aggressive plan to export large numbers of its people to strategically important countries in Africa. The USA has its faults, but it is a democracy and China is a long way from that.
And that brings me to Huawei, which made a special case last week in its open letter praising the values of the USA and feeling a little hurt because the US government decided to spike its acquisition plans.
Huawei wants to be seen by the US government as just another multinational, like an Intel or a Microsoft perhaps, but it has been so secretive about its origins over the years it grew its market share that it’s not surprising that American power possessors are suspicious about it.
It’s been perfectly clear for the last few years that Huawei has been gaining market share in the sectors that have interested it, and if it’s trouncing the American competition, that’s the fault of the American competition, not of Huawei, and not the fault of customers, voting with their feet.
But you can’t really blame the US government for having fears about Huawei’s content against the threats to cybersecurity it and other countries are facing – with evidence showing that many probes to government agencies originate in China.
Transparency is not a quality that either Huawei or China possess. The founder of Huawei was in the PLA, the Chinese army. Is it really beyond the realms of possibility that he still maintains high level contacts with the cadres? China and Huawei are executing faultlessly right now. And their values don’t chime with Western Democracy. Huawei is just not any other multinational vendor.