Sunday 24 February 2019 3:20 pm

Huawei can survive without US, chairman says as tensions grow over cybersecurity fears

The chairman of Huawei said his company can survive without US business amid a global controversy over its products, while welcoming a conciliatory tone from President Donald Trump.

Guo Ping, whose firm is facing a backlash from western governments over cybersecurity concerns, said he agrees with recent tweets from Trump, where he seemed to take a softer stance on the roll-out of 5G.

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Last week Trump said he wanted 5G technology to come to the US “as soon as possible”. “I want the United States to win through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies.”

Guo, who chairs the Chinese giant said: “I have noticed the president’s Twitter, he said that the US needs faster and smarter 5G, or even 6G in the future, and he has realised that the US is lagging behind in this respect, and I think his message is clear and correct.”

Governments in the UK, Germany, Italy and Canada are looking at proposals to ban the Chinese telecoms giant from helping to build their 5G networks. It has already been blocked by New Zealand and Australia.

Western experts are worried that the company is leaving an open back door for Chinese spies in its security systems.

Guo said global stakeholders need to develop a new cybersecurity standard, without influence from politics.

The US government should not block Huawei, but the company could still succeed without access to the country, he said.

Read more: Huawei may spend over $2bn to address UK security concerns

He added: “Is it just to make the decision maker feel good? Such an executive order will harm some of the small telcos' interests and it is unfair to them.”

“I hope the US will honour their spirit of ruling by law.”