Huawei urges Europe to work together with “fourth industrial revolution around the corner”
Thursday, 17 October 2019
Huawei’s Chief Representative to the EU, Abraham Liu takes questions from MEPs at a debate in the European Parliament in Brussels, 16 October, 2019. Credit: The Brussels Times
During a debate on cybersecurity at the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday, Huawei’s Chief Representative to the EU, Abraham Liu, took questions from a panel of MEPs and press.
In his opening statement, Liu highlighted the huge potential which 5G could bring about for Europe by “connecting the continent and enabling Europe to lead the fourth industrial revolution”.
“If we use a metaphor, 5G base stations are like trees, but the potential released by 5G is like a forest.”, Liu told the audience. Paraphrasing the European Union’s motto “United in Diversity”, he furthermore urged Europe to “work together” in order to capitalize on this potential.
Moderated by S&D’s Maria Grapini, Vice-President of the European Parliament’s IMCO Committee, the MEP emphasised during the debate the importance of a common European strategy towards 5G, which would capitalize on scale on synergy, and noted that there are “countries in the EU which cannot bear the cost of 5G deployment”. “5G revenues are estimated at €225 billion in 2025, and up to two million new jobs could be created,” she added.
As the battle for the lucrative business continues, Huawei remains the global market leader on 5G development with 50 secured 5G contracts so far around the world, 28 of which are in Europe. The company has also already deployed 150,000 5G base stations, and expects this number to reach 500,000 by the end of the year.
Earlier this year, Switzerland became the first country in Europe to offer its customers concrete and comprehensive 5G solutions following a partnership between Swiss telecom operator Sunrise and Huawei.
With cybersecurity on top of the agenda in recent months, Liu was asked what steps the telecom giant is taking to ensure that European networks and data are safe and protected. Addressing these questions, Liu reassured the panel that “Huawei is a private company, fully owned by its 96,700 employees” and emphasised that the company operates internationally and works with thousands of suppliers from across the globe.
“It is no different than companies like Ericsson and Nokia, which also have a large presence in China”, Liu added, and highlighted that “the company does not have any legal obligation at all to install backdoors” or to provide information to the Chinese government, should they be asked to.
The company merely wants to do business, provide superior products and services, and to put its customers first, Liu said, adding that it would make no sense for a manager to go against the interest of its customers.
In April, the Belgian Centre for Cybersecurity (CCB), announced that it had not found any evidence of cyber security threats, following a months-long investigation, and will consequently not issue a negative opinion on the company.