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Huawei employees reportedly worked on Chinese military research projects

The company was unaware of these collaborations, according to Bloomberg.

Huawei logo on the back of a mobile phone.

Huawei is a lot more than just the phones that bear its name.

Angela Lang/CNET

Huawei workers have reportedly collaborated with China's military on at least 10 research projects without the company's knowledge. Employees of the embattled Chinese telecommunications equipment maker worked with parts of the People's Liberation Army on projects linked to areas such as artificial intelligence and radio communications over the past decade, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

One such project with the Central Military Commission's investigative branch focused on classifying emotions in online video comments, while another with the National University of Defense Technology looked at gathering analyzing satellite images and coordinates, the report said.

Huawei asserted in an emailed statement that it doesn't have any R&D partnerships with PLA-affiliated institutions and isn't aware of employees publishing research papers "in their individual capacity."

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"Huawei only develops and produces communications products that conform to civil standards worldwide, and does not customize R&D products for the military," it noted.

This comes a month after Huawei was blacklisted through its addition to the United States' "entity list" of groups deemed to be acting contrary to national security interests. President Donald Trump also signed an executive order that essentially banned the company based on national security concerns that Huawei maintained close ties with the Chinese government.

In February, Huawei founder and president Ren Zhengfei dismissed allegations that his company's products were being used to spy for China through built-in backdoors allowing intelligence agents to access data, the main reason for the long-running US ban on Huawei networking equipment.

First published at 3:22 a.m. PT.
Updated at 3:55 a.m. PT: Adds more detail.