It looks like it’s one kick down after another for Chinese company Huawei. After years of security-related issues in the United States, the company could now be facing some similar issues in Australia.
According to a report from Australia’s ABC, Huawei has increasingly been considered a security risk to critical infrastructure — something that will likely result in the company being blocked from taking part in building out Australia’s 5G network.
It’s not the first move against Huawei in Australia. The company was banned from participating in Australia’s National Broadband Network, and it lost a contract to build cable between Sydney and the Solomon Islands after an Australian spy chief intervened.
Blocking Huawei from participating in Australia’s 5G network would be a pretty big move, especially considering the fact Australian carriers Optus and Vodafone both have partnerships with Huawei to develop their networks.
“On matters like the electronic spine of Australia, the new 5G network which will control the internet of things — automatically driven cars, lifts, medical technology — I don’t think it’s appropriate to sell or allow a company like Huawei to participate,” said Australian politician Michael Danby in an interview with the ABC.
There are plenty of parallels between this and Huawei’s relationship with the United States. For example, like in the U.S., there are some concerns that blocking Huawei would stoke tensions between Australia and China, which is Australia’s biggest trade partner.
The main fear here is that Huawei is working with the Chinese government to spy on citizens in countries like the U.S. and Australia. While Huawei as a company is independent from the Chinese government, the two have a long history of collaboration. In the U.S. Huawei isn’t the only Chinese company facing hurdles — the U.S. government also recently banned U.S. officials from using ZTE smartphones.
Despite hurdles in countries like Australia and the U.S., Huawei has grown to become the world’s third-largest smartphone manufacturer. Still, it’s hard to imagine the company growing much more than it already has given the challenges it faces in new regions. Recently, reports surfaced that Huawei would step back from its push into countries like the U.S., refocusing its efforts on other markets.