Published in El Pais, 11 December 2018.
Huawei’s phones have always been a popular choice amongst consumers. They have a wide variety of cheap phones and for those who like high end models the P20 pro is constantly praised for its features despite its high price tag. Unfortunately, all of this is being overclouded by a barrage of bad publicity. While not outright banned, U.S lawmakers have made it quite difficult for the company to enter the market. New Zealand and Australia has banned the company from setting up a 5G network despite its advancements in the field. All of this because the founder has close ties to the Chinese military and Chinese law states that any company requested to assist the government for national security reasons must do so. Despite the concern my country, Canada, has been working very closely with the company to set up its new 5G network while repeatedly brushing aside warnings from our neighbors to the south. That is until now.
On December 1st Canadian authorities arrested Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou after landing in Vancouver for a connecting flight due to an outstanding warrant for her arrest in the U.S. Thanks to an extradition treaty between the two countries Canada had no choice but to arrest her when they learned she would be touching down on Canadian soil (even if only for a moment).
The implications of this for my country is huge. Not only is China furious but the rally cry to ban the company is starting to grow with major figures such as the former Prime Minister of Canada getting on board. To do so would cost us an estimated $1billion and the opportunity costs for Huawei could be even greater as the list of countries it gets banned from continues to grow. If this keeps up it will not be long before they fall behind on wireless technology, making phones more expensive around the world along with the slower development of 5G networks.
Huawei does have some security concerns I admit but at the same time it is also difficult to ignore the technological progress they have made. I do hope some agreement can be made so that everyone can get along. The whole world can benefit from it.