The boss of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has admitted it faces “challenges and problems” in shaking off spying allegations in America, but said that revenue growth is still set to accelerate over the next five years.
The Shenzhen-based company, which is the biggest supplier of telecoms network equipment in the world, was forced to deny claims by the US government that Beijing could use its equipment for spying.
Washington said in a report last October that both Huawei and another Chinese telecoms firm, ZTE (HKSE: 0763.HK - news) , posed a security risk. One of the reports authors went even further and urged US companies to avoid doing business with them,
However, Huawei’s acting chief executive Ping Guo said on Monday that it has “never sold key equipment into US networks”, and that there had “never been any incident” of its products threatening cyber security.
“Since our installed base for telecom network equipment in the US in the past and today was and is almost zero, therefore there is no ability for Huawei to pose a threat to America’s cyber security,” Mr Guo said at the launch of Huawei’s annual report.
The company, whose founder Ren Zhengfei was a senior officer in China’s People’s Liberation Army, has found it hard to shake off the allegations that cast a cloud over its network business.
However, the rapid growth of its smartphone and cloud computing operations still put it on track to grow 10pc a year for the next five years.
Strong demand from China helped to offset weaker demand elsewhere. Revenues from Huawei’s domestic market grew 12.2pc to 73.6bn (£7.8bn) yuan last year, making up around a third of global revenues, which rose 8pc to 220.1yuan. Net profits were up 32pc to 15.4bn yuan.
Mr Zhengfei used the annual report to drill into staff that they must devote themselves to Huawei and make sure they do not have any other sources of income.
“We adhere to the principle of ‘obtaining benefits from one source…No income from outside Huawei is allowed,” he said. “[That way] our employees will be more and more passionate about their work. Then there will be nothing we cannot conquer.”
Huawei operates like the John Lewis Partnership in China, with all of its Chinese employees owning a stake in the business, but Mr Zhengfei’s comments are seen as a veiled hint that the company is moving closer to opening the system out to include foreign nationals as well.