The controversy concerning one of China’s largest telecommunication firms, Huawei, came to a head on Jan. 28 when the United States Department of Justice unleashed more than one criminal charge against the company. In show of obvious disapproval, the D.O.J. showered Huawei with 23 indictments.
The multitude of indictments is partially made of a 10-count indictment alleging that Huawei stole trade secrets from T-Mobile starting in 2012. In connection to this indictment, Huawei allegedly offered bonuses to its employees for stealing confidential information from other companies, specifically T-Mobile.
A 13-count indictment accounts for the rest of what the D.O.J. imposed against Huawei. This indictment charged four defendants, including Huawei and Meng Wanzhou, the company’s chief financial officer, with financial fraud.
“The charges unsealed today clearly allege that Huawei intentionally conspired to steal the intellectual property of an American company in an attempt to undermine the free and fair global marketplace,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in a statement regarding the charges.
As the world’s largest supplier of telecom equipment and the second-largest smartphone maker, this denouncement indicates just how far Huawei has to fall in the eyes of the world. About 40% of consumers state that they would end their business with a company or brand if the business suffered a security breach in the past. The United States has been doing just the same in its relationship with Huawei.
U.S. officials have banned the sale of Huawei’s networking equipment in the country. The Trump administration and lawmakers — from both sides of the political aisle — have denounced Huawei for allegedly having links to China’s communist leadership.
Other countries around the world have started to follow suit. A number of nations are either considering a ban or have already enacted a ban against Huawei conducting commerce in their country. Canadian authorities arrested Meng Wanzhou in early December on charges of violating sanctions against Iran.
The U.S. had requested that its northern neighbor make this arrest, further straining the already precarious relationship between the U.S. and China. In an attempt to hammer out an elusive trade agreement and bring an end to the long-standing tariff war between the two economic powerhouses, representatives of the Chinese government are meeting with U.S. officials later this week.