While the US is organising a McCarthyism style witch-hunt against the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, the UK is being little more practical.
The US has been trying to purge China from its telecom markets with the sort of lynch-mob enthusiasm it reserves for those it perceives as a threat to its corporate oligarchs. At the moment, the US claims that the Chinese are using their gear to spy on it. We guess that is because there is no way Huawei could be manufacturing weapons of mass destruction, which is its usual excuse.
However, the UK has realised that China has shedloads of cash which it can invest, and the country is short of a bob or two. It has sent its investment official Gavin Little to reassure the China that it still loves Huawei and if that company’s investment should fall the way of the UK it would be ever so grateful.
Little told a meeting in Beijing that the UK was “very open to investment” by the Chinese telecom giant. He said that while the US is worried about security, Britain welcomes Huawei.
This is the second pat on the back that the UK government has given Huawei. In September, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei was received in Britain by Prime Minister David Cameron. Afterwards, Ren announced an investment project worth £1.3 billion that is claimed will create 500 jobs in the country.
Huawei has been chums with BT and that relationship is under the investigation by a UK parliamentary committee. That investigation is scheduled to be finished in December with a report turning up on David Cameron’s desk. That committee was a little hostile to Huawei which, it said, failed to provide adequate answers to lawmakers’ questions about its relationship with the Chinese government.
Huawei has been banned by the Australian government from involvement in construction of a $38 billion national network programme and the Canadian government from one of its government infrastructure projects.
There had been some rumours that Huawei would tone down its investment in the US and Europe until the whole row blows over. However, it appears that Little and Cameron are keen to keep Chinese money flowing into the UK. All Cameron has to do is make sure that the Parliamentary committee report is watered down, or accidently filed in a place where it will not be seen for 100 years.