Huawei Resorts To Junkets In An Effort To Stall A Dumping
Desperate to convince retailers that they should continue selling their products in Australia Huawei has turned to taking journalists such the Financial Reviews John Davidson on junkets to China in an effort to convince them that there is nothing wrong with their brand.
The only problem is that it appears that the trip was all about hardware and little detail given on the mirroring of local in Country servers that capture data from smartphones back to Chinese owned servers.
Last week the biggest consumer electronics retailer in the world dumped Huawei from their stores.
At the same the US and UK governments have moved to warn consumers about the security risks associated with owning a Huawei smartphone. In the US carriers such as AT&T and Verizon have already dropped Huawei made products from their range.
What Davidson was shown was a robot is tapping on the screen of a Huawei phone with rubber-tipped steel fingers, tens of thousands of times over, to test whether the phone can withstand the rigors of everyday usage.
Another robot takes a phone wrapped in the denim pocket of a pair of jeans, and repeatedly presses on the middle of the screen with 30 kilograms of force, to test whether the phone can stand up to accidentally being sat on.
Another machine bakes Huawei’s phones to 85 degrees and freezes them to minus 40. Another one blasts talcum powder at the phones, to test whether they’re as dustproof the company says they are.
So, when it came to how sales were going, Huawei officials told Davidson that they’re yet to see any impact on sales of the Mate 10 Pro smartphone, which was unusual as Huawei tracks daily sales of their smartphones.
They also told him that Huawei cloud services are located in the markets where the phones are sold, not in China, and they obey the privacy laws of those markets – to secret, hitherto unidentified backdoors in the phones, that would allow Chinese government hackers access to phones at will.
ChannelNews has been told that these servers are located locally but are mirrored back to other Countries where Huawei is able to access information.
In 2016, the security firm Kryptowire said it found a backdoor in certain Chinese-made phones, including ones made by Huawei, through which sensitive customer information was being sent to servers maintained by an advertising company in China.
This Chinese Company told people in Hong Kong that the information they gleamed was given to Huawei, ZTE and Oppo all Chinese phone manufacturers.
During his junket fully paid for by Huawei, officials were unwilling to point the finger at the US Government or as Davidson described it “Trump-era protectionism” which he said many suspects is behind latest security concerns.
“The main thing that we’re doing at the moment is to continue to operate in the way that we have done for many years in 170 countries with no . . . concern over this whatsoever,” a company spokesman said.
In Australia several staff have quit and not been replaced according to insiders.
During the recent Mobile World Congress Huawei moved to sponsoring Australian journalists to attend the event in an effort to lift their profile.
ChannelNews understands that all three carriers in Australia have held discussions with Federal Government security agencies concerning the threat of a Huawei built 5G network and their handsets.
In an article written by Davidson the Financial Review said that bigger threat to Huawei’s handset ambitions might lie in its telecommunications infrastructure business, which has also come under scrutiny in the US and Australia, to the point where the Chinese company was banned six years ago from tendering to supply equipment for Australia’s National Broadband Network.
Managing director at telecommunications analysis company Telsyte Foad Fadaghi, says Huawei’s success in Western countries, like Italy, where it has overtaken Apple to be the second-biggest-selling phone brand, has tended to coincide with infrastructure deals. These mean operators get discounted Huawei handsets as part of the broader infrastructure project.
If the company sees a repeat of its NBN ban in the rollout of 5G network infrastructure over the next two or three years, that could have a flow-on effect on handset sales, too.
“In the short term there are some difficulties,” admits Huawei’s Xu.
“But we will not give up. We are very patient.”