Huawei to continue to work with consumers even if 5G banned in Canada: chairman

Huawei has primarily been working with Telus and Bell in Canada on wireless technology

Huawei Technologies Inc. is adamant that it won’t abandon Canadian consumers, telecommunications companies and universities, even if the country’s government bans its 5G technology.

Speaking through a translator at a media roundtable Thursday, the technology giant’s chairman Liang Hua stressed that he believes there is a way for the business to forge ahead in the country, though he noted the relationship between Canada and the company’s home country China is “not ideal.”

“If Huawei were to be excluded from the deployment of 5G in the country then there are still customers that will choose us. In that case, we will also continue to provide services to those customers that have chosen us,” he said.

“At the end of the day, we hope the decisions on 5G can be based on technology, instead of other factors. We want it to be a level playing field.”

Liang’s comments and his visit come as Huawei is encountering intense scrutiny in the wake of the December arrest of its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou at the behest of the United States, which seeks to extradite her over accusations of fraud and violating international sanctions against Iran.

Huawei has already faced restrictions on its technology from three of Canada’s Five Eyes intelligence allies — the U.S., Australia and New Zealand — and telecommunications partners, including Telus Corp., have said if Huawei is banned their 5G wireless networks could be delayed and more expensive.

READ MORE: U.S. charges Chinese tech giant Huawei

READ MORE: China tells US to stop ‘unreasonable crackdown’ on Huawei

Huawei has primarily been working with Telus and Bell in Canada on wireless technology, but also sells smartphones through Rogers and Videotron under their main brands, as well as some secondary brands such as Virgin Mobile, Fido and Koodo.

The company — with a Canadian headquarters in Markham, Ont. and research facilities in Ottawa, Markham, Waterloo, Ont., Montreal, Vancouver and Edmonton — has also committed money to collaborations with the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, McGill University and the University of Waterloo.

Liang insisted the recent scandal hasn’t damaged such relations or the company’s respectability, adding that is ”not realistic” for Huawei to expect to serve every market, though it does have 30 5G contracts around the world.

“I don’t think there is a negative impact on the company’s reputation, but rather I think they just gave us a round of free advertisement around the world,” he said.

“In the short-term, if there were some political influence (or) some political factors in play, it might have an impact on our scale of investments, but in the long run, we still believe it is all down to the technologies.”

Liang announced that Huawei would be adding 200 jobs to the Canadian market and increasing its research and development investments in Canada by 15 per cent in 2019, following a $180 million of investment it made in Canada in 2018.

He also said the company was committed to ensuring all intellectual property generated with Canadian institutions Huawei partners with is kept within the country in arrangements that benefit both the organizations and Huawei. It employs 1,100 workers in the country, including 700 focused on research and development.

He insisted that wouldn’t change based on whether a ban is implemented and denied that the announcements were made in an effort to influence the forthcoming decision.

Liang skirted questions about precisely how damaging a ban could be for the company and wouldn’t say what he felt China and Canada could do to repair their relations.

He did, however, open up about Meng’s recent troubles.

“I believe she is innocent and I hope the Canadian legal system can bring justice back to her and hope that she can be freed and reunite with her family soon, but I am not a lawyer, so I can’t comment on the substance of the case,” he said.

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Sooke cannabis report does little to answer production questions

Council is trying to get ahead of the issue

Saanich woman runs marathons to make dreams come true

Hempler gutted her way through 122 kms with minimal breaks, to support Help Fill a Dream Foundation

Tsartlip canoe team pulls for international glory in Australia

Geronimo Canoe Club paddles to Victoria to kick-start fundraising

Average housing prices would have to drop by $413,000 for Victoria to become affordable

Alternatively, salaries need to increase to $134,000 per year, more than double current levels

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

Most Read