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Huawei: Clear as mud

January 31, 2013

A REPORT that Huawei sold more smartphones in the last quarter of 2012 than either Nokia, HTC or RIM (the company that has just renamed itself BlackBerry) raised eyebrows last week. But less widely reported news about the Chinese company, best known for its telecoms-networking gear, may prove more important.?We will honour our commitment to transparency and openness,? declared Cathy Meng, the firm?s chief financial officer, at a press conference. Huawei is privately held, so has no obligation to disclose its finances. But its efforts to expand have led to grumbles in Europe about subsidies and a backlash in America against its opacity. A congressional committee claimed last October, on flimsy evidence, that its lack of transparency and ties to the Chinese army make it a security threat to America.On the contrary, says John Suffolk, Huawei?s cyber-security tsar who used to be chief information officer for Britain?s government: his firm is itself the target of ?tens of thousands of cyber attacks a week?. And Eric Anderson, of America?s National Intelligence University, concludes in a new book, ?Sinophobia: The Huawei Story?, that the firm is a victim of China-bashing.Ms Meng?s promise of openness is important because she is not just the company?s chief financial officer. Her father is Ren Zhengfei, its secretive founder. She said revenues rose to 220 billion yuan ($35 billion...

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