The political news cycle around Huawei over the last few weeks has been particularly active. As trade tensions between the US and China over the last year have risen, the company has become a focus-point for the US Justice Department.

Back in December in particular we saw the high-profile arrest of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada on the grounds of an US arrest warrant. Meng is currently on bail in Vancouver as she awaits extradition hearings by Canadian justice. The primary charges against Meng surround accusations of Huawei circumventing US export sanctions against Iran by using a Hong Kong subsidiary “Skycom”, with Meng committing bank fraud by lying to US banks and trying to hide this connection. Huawei denies any of the asserted violations in the indictment.

Additional charges against Huawei were unsealed on Monday, with the US Justice Department further accusing Huawei of “trying to take a piece of a robot and other technology from a T-Mobile lab that was used to test smartphones”. The charge claims that the event took place in 2012 as Huawei engineers tried to take photos and measurements of an automated screen-tapping robot “Tappy”. Such testing robots have essentially become common place in the industry and are employed by many manufacturers and testing labs. The incident does sound odd in this regard as the technology involved isn’t particularly high-level or that valuable.

In a more recent rebuttal of the US’s accusations, Beijing’s foreign ministry had made a statement on state TV, as quoted by AP:

China called on Washington on Tuesday to “stop the unreasonable crackdown” on Huawei after the United States stepped up pressure on the tech giant by indicting it on charges of stealing technology and violating sanctions on Iran.

Beijing will “firmly defend” its companies, a foreign ministry statement said. 
The foreign ministry complained Washington has “mobilized state power” to hurt Chinese companies “in an attempt to strangle fair and just operations.”

“We strongly urge the United States to stop the unreasonable crackdown on Chinese companies including Huawei,” said the statement read on state TV.

Even though Huawei’s efforts in the US has seen major set-backs and the company essentially doesn’t see any major presence in that market, the company last year still managed to surpass Apple and take over as #2 smartphone vendor. Later in the same year, the company also managed to pass the 200 million mark of shipped smartphones for 2018, signifying an important step for the company’s consumer business.

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Source: AP News

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  • heffeque - Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - link

    I'm not sure which country you are talking about... or if you're talking about both of them.
  • Lord of the Bored - Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - link

    I'd assume both.
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - link

    This sounds like intimidation tactics by the US government on behalf of Cisco and other vendors who are losing market share to Huawei. Another part of the Cheeto-in-Chief's trade war with China.
  • webdoctors - Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - link

    Maybe its just a cash shakedown? ZTE was essentially shutdown until Trump reopened them to qualcomm chips. Maybe he looking for a payoff?
  • DejayC - Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - link

    The US government’s heavy handed persecution of Huawei IS unjust, but so is the Chinese governments hacking of US tech companies, legally mandated IP transfer, and blocking of US websites. We are entering a new world of great-power rivalry and the US realizes it can no longer take the high road when countries such as China are taking the low road to economic and geopolitical dominance. While the Trump administration has certainly accelerated this economic retaliation, the rest of political establishment in the US has also begun to think “something needs to be done” to maintain America’s status as the worlds sole superpower. We can only hope that this rivalry remains an economic one, and doesn’t turn into WW3.
  • teldar - Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - link

    <i>the Chinese governments hacking of US tech companies, legally mandated IP transfer, and blocking of US websites</i>

    I have to imagine this is a large part of the issue. For years if an American company wanted to do business in China, they have had to partner with a Chinese company and give all their technology and trade secrets to their Chinese partner. This practice coupled with China's outright infringement of all IP they can get their hands on otherwise and their intentional devaluation of their currency to improve further the trade imablance in their favor are all issues the entire world should be concerned with.
  • joeyudog - Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - link

    It's about time somebody played China's game on their level. They have swiped so much of our technology over the years through the "right to steal IP" law, which says that in order for you to sell foreign merchandise in China you are forced to reveal and give a certain amount of your IP, of which they choose from what I understand, to them. That law just literally makes theft legal. Then they just manufacture the same thing at a drastically reduced cost, due to no R&D and dirt cheap labor costs, and sell it back to us. Since the IP was legally "given" to them they don't even have to wait for the patent to expire, etc. That's a massive reason why the US has seen a sharp decline in our manufacturing base, (because why should we?) which is why the so-called rust belt is now really rusting. Past administrations seem to have just tried keeping the peace by letting them run right over us rather than trying to stop the theft because it may cause a tiff. I'm all for keeping the peace, but you can't call it an even playing field when the other guy keeps sticking a knife in your belly.
  • Lord of the Bored - Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - link

    The decline in american manufacturing is almost entirely due to the cheap cost of overseas labor. Same reason we shipped things to Taiwan and Japan and Singapore and Mexico back in the day. China just has the cunning to KEEP those labor costs low instead of letting the economic boom spill out and raise the standard of living for the populace at large.

    Companies have willingly tossed China their patents because it is cheaper for them to share with chinese businesses than it is to make their crap somewhere that doesn't take advantage of them, so they decide the cost of doing business in China is worth it. Short-term profit is the one and only metric of value, so sacrificing the long-term value of a few patents to gain the immediate savings of criminally low wages is an unalloyed win.
  • BedfordTim - Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - link

    The average wage has been steadily rising in China, almost tripling in the past 10 years. Wages in the major cities are now higher than in European countries such as Croatia and Lithuania. China has also been raising minimum wages and reducing agricultural taxes to reduce wage inequality.
  • Diji1 - Friday, February 1, 2019 - link

    This is more news for idiots that haven't worked out that the US/other intelligence creates conspiracy theories and then the mainstream media helps spread them around. So Iraq has WMD and attacked America on 911, Russia controls the US elections and the whole world, China steals IP.

    China has already surpassed the USA for scientific output some time ago.

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