Huawei wants to become more transparent

Chinese outfit Huawei has decided that the only way it will overcome prejudice about its security is to become more open.

Huawei was caught by a “yellow peril” scare when US senators claimed that its gear was being used by the Chinese government to spy on all good American citizens.

US allies, who seemed to be adopting the role of the “bully’s mates” by folding their arms and going “yeah”, swiftly followed suit. Canada and Australia started to refuse Huawei lucrative government contracts.

Now, according to Reuters,  Huawei is setting up a cyber-security centre in Australia to help address concerns that threaten to shut it out of key global markets.

Chairman of Huawei’s Australian business, John Lord, said that the company had done a poor job of communicating about itself and it must take full responsibility for that.

He said that Huawei has a duty to set the record straight, to dispel the myths and the misinformation.

Huawei proposed to set up a centre in Australia to give security-cleared officials complete access to its software source code and equipment.

The move is similar to what it established in Britain two years ago which involved working with UK spooks.  

Huawei has also offered to undergo similar scrutiny in the United States, along with another Chinese telecoms equipment firm, ZTE, the world’s fifth largest telecom equipment maker.

However, the US congressional intelligence committee has decided any such efforts would not address any of its security concerns, because they were based on knee-jerk prejudice and not on any real facts. The US did not get where it is today by relying on facts or science.

Most of the suspicions that the US and Australia have about Huawei are connected to its founder, Ren Zhengfei, who two and a half decades ago was a member of the People’s Liberation Army until he was fired.

Lord is another PR effort from Huawei which has been hiring outsiders from beyond the wall to give its company a Western face, at least in the West.

Lord hoped that in Australia, the country would give Huawei a fair go and not allow sober debate on cyber security to become distorted the way it has in the US.

One of the sticking points is why Huawei is not going for a stock exchange listing in five to 10 years to appease concerns about transparency.

Lord claimed that it was better to be localising the company’s boards and activities.

He said an iPO and a listing would not be the panacea that would solve all of the company’s openess problems, where as local boards would.

He might have a point. In Oz the local board includes heavyweights like former foreign minister Alexander Downer and former premier of Victoria state John Brumby.