On the Chinese company’s 20th anniversary of doing business in the UK, the vendor finds itself more under fire than ever before

Controversial Chinese vendor Huawei today launched a new advertising campaign focussed on reassuring the British public about the important role it has to play in the UK’s connectivity infrastructure. At the heart of this campaign in an open letter, promising to help the UK deliver “high speed connections to every part of the country’. 
The new goodwill campaign comes at a time of uncertainty for Huawei. In May, the US ramped up sanctions against the Chinese giant, ripping away their access to much of the semiconductor supply chain. At the time, Huawei’s rotating chairman Guo Ping said that the new sanctions would see Huawei forced to focus on “survival”; however, when asked about the effect of these measures on a media call this morning, Huawei VP Victor Zhang said it was “too early to come to any conclusions”.
Meanwhile, the UK is rumoured to be drawing up a strategy to remove Huawei from its 5G infrastructure completely over the next three years. 
At the heart of this conflict, of course, lies the geopolitical battle between China and the US. The Trump administration maintains that Huawei represents a significant security risk around the world – an opinion that drove rebel MPs to challenge the UK government’s January ruling a few months ago. 
When questioned about the security of their networks this morning, Zhang once again denied that the UK represented a security risk, but noted that security was a “common challenge for the whole industry” which would require “common responsibility” on behalf of legislators, operators, and vendors to overcome. When asked if there was any plans in place to eventually see Huawei removed from the UK’s ‘high-risk vendor’ list, nothing was offered beyond assurances of the company’s transparency and that it follows all guidance from the National Cyber Security Centre.
Ultimately, the latest advertising campaign may go some way towards softening public opinion against Huawei, but it is the ongoing geopolitical storm that is driving policy, not public opinion. Huawei can do little more to prove that it is, as Zhang puts it, “private company, 100% owned by employees”, and without that clarity the company seems unlikely to be able to significantly influence the Western legislators.  
How is the geopolitical battle between the US and China impacting the UK telecoms sector? Find out from the experts at this year’s Connected Britain
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