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Oscar Williams

News editor

Huawei has promised to invest $2bn in cyber security over the next five years

Huawei has unveiled plans to invest $2bn in cyber security over the next five years in light of a crackdown on its products.

The Chinese technology giant has found it increasingly difficult to sell its 5G infrastructure equipment to telecoms operators in Western nations, following a campaign by the “five eyes” intelligence alliance to curb its reach.

The US, which is spearheading the purge, is reportedly concerned about the company’s alleged links to the Chinese government and the use of the technology in countries where it has military bases. Huawei has repeatedly insisted it operates independently of Beijing.

In a press conference on Tuesday (18 December), the Shenzhen-headquartered conglomerate’s chairman, Ken Hu, revealed the company would be boosting investment in its cyber security workforce in the years ahead, and hit back at claims its products were insecure.

“Any concerns or allegations on security at Huawei should be based on factual evidence,” he told journalists, according to Reuters. “Without factual evidence we don’t accept and we oppose those allegations.”

Huawei has traditionally enjoyed a warmer relationship with the UK than many other nations, but cracks in the alliance began to emerge over summer when British officials published a report detailing concerns about the security of some of its technology.

The report highlighted technical shortcomings, rather than allegations of espionage, and was followed by warnings from the heads of both GCHQ and MI6 about the risks Chinese technology poses to the UK’s cyber resilience.

The government is expected to publish a telecoms review early next year, setting out new rules on firms’ supply chains. BT has already started to remove Huawei equipment from parts of its 4G network.

But earlier this month the company’s relationship with the West took its most dramatic turn yet, when its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was detained in Vancouver and charged with violating sanctions against Iran.

Donald Trump has since suggested he would be willing to intervene in her case, preventing a possible extradition to the US, if it helped secure a trade deal with China.

Huawei has not yet responded to a request for comment.