Huawei founder defends company in rare public appearance

Ren Zhengfei denies that the China-based company has any connection to the cybersecurity threats that the U.S. faces.

Huawei
Huawei workers on the move. Huawei

Huawei CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei broke his silence and publicly denied that his company is involved with cybersecurity threats directed at the U.S.

Ren emerged from behind his veil of secrecy and publicly addressed the media in a rare appearance in New Zealand, where Huawei had just won a contract to build a 4G LTE network, according to Reuters.

While Huawei has grown to be the second-largest telecommunications vendor in the world, the company has had difficulty breaking into the U.S. market due to security concerns expressed by the U.S. government and the belief that Huawei is too close to the Chinese government. Ren's own reluctance to speak to the media has only compounded the image that the company lacks transparency.

China has long been cast as a villain skulking about behind a wide array of cyberthreats. Earlier this week, for instance, Pentagon's annual report to Congress on China's military said that Beijing in 2012 carried out a campaign of computer intrusions designed to acquire information about the U.S. government's diplomatic and military plans.

In addressing the media publicly, Ren said that Huawei has no connection to U.S. cybersecurity issues "in the past, current and future."

He noted that Huawei doesn't have any major equipment work with the U.S. government or with the major carriers.

Ren, who has avoided giving press interviews since he founded the company 26 years ago, has been making more of a recent effort to speak publicly to improve the company's reputation.

About the author

Roger Cheng is the executive editor in charge of breaking news for CNET News. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade. He's a devoted Trojan alum and Los Angeles Lakers fan.

 

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