China’s controversial telecommunications equipment maker Huawei supports the ruling Communist Party and loves the country, its CEO said Thursday, but stressed Beijing has never asked it to spy on the United States or others.
Ren Zhengfei, a former People’s Liberation Army (PLA) engineer, founded the company in 1987 and it has risen to rank among the world’s top manufacturers of network equipment.
But his PLA service has led to concerns of close links with the Chinese military and government, which Huawei has consistently denied.
Asked about the issue in a rare public appearance at the World Economic Forum, Ren said through an interpreter: “We are a Chinese company, we definitely advocate (the) Communist Party of China.
“We love our country,” he added. “But having said that, we definitely will not compromise the interest of any other country or government.
We comply with laws and regulations in every country we do business in.”
Asked whether Beijing has ever asked him to use the company’s network to tap into US facilities, he responded: “We have never received such a request from the Chinese government.”
He also suggested Huawei’s technology would not be up to such a task: “There’s no way we can possibly penetrate into other people’s systems.”
The company denies such allegations vigorously.
Last year The New York Times and Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine reported the US National Security Agency (NSA) had accessed Huawei’s email archive, communications between top company officials and the source code of some of its products.
The allegations were based on documents provided by fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
But Ren had nothing but positive comments about the US on Thursday, emphasising that its openness was a key reason it has become the world’s top power and stressing he has never thought it has treated Huawei unfairly.
Huawei operates in 170 countries and the company says one third of the world’s population communicate using its products in some way.
It is the world’s second largest network equipment supplier behind Sweden’s Ericsson, and has made a large push into consumer products such smartphones in recent years.
Research firm Strategy Analytics ranked Huawei as the world’s number five smartphone maker by shipments in the third quarter last year, with a 5.1 percent market share.