U.S. companies should avoid business with Huawei Technologies Co., China’s largest phone-equipment maker, to guard against intellectual-property theft and spying, the U.S. House Intelligence Committee chairman said.
U.S. companies considering purchases from Huawei should “find another vendor if you care about your intellectual property, if you care about your consumers’ privacy, and you care about the national security of the United States of America,” Representative Mike Rogers told CBS News’s “60 Minutes,” according to a CBS release about an interview set to air tomorrow.
Rogers, a Michigan Republican, and the committee’s top Democrat, Maryland Representative C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, are preparing to issue a report Oct. 8 on their yearlong investigation of Huawei and ZTE Corp., another Chinese phone-equipment maker. The lawmakers have been looking at whether the companies’ expansion in the U.S. market enables Chinese government espionage and imperils the U.S. telecommunications infrastructure.
“Huawei is a globally trusted and respected company doing business in almost 150 markets with over 500 operator customers, including nationwide carriers across every continent save Antarctica,” William Plummer, a Washington-based spokesman for Huawei, said in an e-mail. “The security and integrity of our products are world proven. Those are the facts today. Those will still be the facts next week, political agendas aside.”
Susan Phalen, a spokeswoman for the committee, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Executives for Huawei and ZTE, both based in Shenzhen, China, denied links to espionage during an intelligence committee hearing last month, telling lawmakers they aren’t controlled by the Chinese government.
The companies said they favor independent audits of technology vendors’ hardware and software as a way to ensure that devices and networks are secure.
The panel’s probe coincides with increased U.S. warnings about digital spying by China. U.S. counterintelligence officials called China the world’s biggest perpetrator of economic espionage in a report last November, saying the theft of sensitive data in cyberspace is accelerating and jeopardizing an estimated $398 billion in U.S. research spending.