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Apple’s Chinese rival Huawei has unveiled its first 5G chip

Chinese tech giant Huawei has unveiled its first 5G chip at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The firm claims its Balong 5G01 modem is the first to support the 5G standard established by the 3GPP governing body in December.

The chip could deliver “theoretical” download speeds of 2.3Gbps, the Apple rival claimed. By contrast, 4G currently provides an average download speed of between 10-20Mbps in the UK.

“Since 2009, Huawei has invested US$600 million in research and development into 5G technologies,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group. “From connected vehicles and smart homes to AR/VR and hologram videos, we are committed to developing a mature 5G ecosystem.”

The announcement came after Qualcomm announced its own 2Gbps 4G modem earlier this month. Intel, meanwhile, revealed its 5G modem back in January. Last week, Intel also vowed that consumers would be able to buy 5G laptops by the second half of 2019, following the launch of new partnerships with Microsoft, Lenovo, HP and Dell.

Huawei’s Yu also used MWC as an opportunity to respond to concerns over its alleged links to the Chinese government. Earlier this month, the heads of the CIA, FBI and NSA warned American citizens about buying the firm’s products.

But, according to a report from the South China Morning Post, Yu told a media roundtable yesterday: “Huawei has no issue on cybersecurity and privacy. In fact, we are doing better than others. Huawei is a transparent company, and we follow local laws.”

Earlier this month, Huawei pledged to procure a total of £3bn in the UK over the next five years, in what politicians described as a major boost for British exports to China.

The announcement was made after Huawei’s chairwoman Sun Yafang reiterated the company’s commitment to the UK in a meeting with Theresa May in Beijing. May welcomed the move and said that thanks to “the drive and innovation of UK business”, trade between the two countries was “already at record levels”.