Huawei Boss Attacks ‘Closed-Minded’ American Lawmakers

(Bloomberg) -- Huawei Technologies Co. has lately become a prominent target for U.S. factions seeking to raise alarms over alleged Chinese espionage and technology theft. Now Huawei’s striking back.

Eric Xu, the company’s current rotating chairman, minced no words in an unusually pointed riposte to American lawmakers who raised concerns about Huawei’s ties to U.S. colleges. He singled out Congressman Jim Banks and Senator Marco Rubio, saying they persuaded peers to write to the Education Secretary and call for an inquiry into whether Huawei steals American research through projects with dozens of universities.

Huawei Boss Attacks ‘Closed-Minded’ American Lawmakers

“The two congressmen are quite closed-minded and ill-informed. It seems that their bodies are in the information age, but their minds are still in the agrarian age,” Xu said, according to a company statement. “Their behavior shows not just an ignorance of how science and innovation works today, but also their own lack of confidence.”

He added that Huawei merely sought to contribute to academic research and openly shared its findings.

American politicians have for years labeled Huawei -- one of the world’s largest telecoms gear makers -- a potential security threat because of perceived ties to the Chinese government, something the company’s repeatedly denied. That stems in part from its founding by former military engineer Ren Zhengfei. But that scrutiny has sharpened this year as the Trump Administration threatened to levy punitive tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese imports and slapped a life-threatening ban on ZTE Corp., a Huawei rival.

The company is also the world’s largest maker of smartphones after Samsung and Apple Inc. and has poured billions of dollars into the development of fifth-generation wireless -- an effort that places it in prime position to benefit from the next generation of mobile technology. At the same forum in Shanghai, Xu promised not to squeeze other companies on 5G royalties.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Gao Yuan in Beijing at ygao199@bloomberg.net

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

With assistance from Editorial Board