The latest move by China-based Huawei to remediate its image as a security threat to governments and enterprises comes straight from the top. Founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei told reporters at a press conference in New Zealand that Huawei is not connected to cyber-espionage and does not represent a security threat to any of its customers.
"Huawei has no connection to the cyber-security issues the US has encountered in the past, current and future," said Ren, according to Reuters.
While several US- and China-based Huawei officers have made similar assertions in the last six months, Ren's statement is the strongest and highest level rejection yet of accusations that Huawei is more of an instrument of China's People's Liberation Army that a free enterprise interested in fair competition with the likes of Cisco, Avaya and Alcatel-Lucent.
Since October 2012 when a US Congressional report labelled the company a national and economic security threat to the United States, Huawei has been buffered by allegations that it is untrustworthy. The US government and competitors actively tell partners and customers that they should not buy Huawei products because they could be used to leak information to China's military and government.
The tainted image is the likely cause Huawei last month to withdraw from the US carrier market. While the company is moving to become a global $100bn company by expanding channels in North America, Europe and Latin America, executive vice president Eric Xu last month said Huawei is no longer interested in the US market, at least for carriers.
Later, the company clarified that it remained interested and optimistic about its prospects for growing market share in enterprise networking in the US.
Earlier this week, Huawei launched ICT Nation, a collaborative community of vendors, solution providers and CIOs to advance understanding and best practices of infrastructure development in the cloud computing era. The community coincided with new products that facilitate switching in virtualised and cloud environments.
"It will become very clear to those with open minds our commitment to this community," said COO Jane Li says referring to the channel and the US market.
In two weeks, Huawei will host its North America partners at its annual channel summit in California. While the agenda is more focused on technology, products and go-to-market strategy, the expectation is trustworthiness and reputation will factor into the discussions.
A survey by The 2112 Group in October 2012 found more than two-thirds of US partners are apprehensive about working with companies labelled as security threats by the government. However, the same ratio of solution providers say competition from foreign companies is good for the US economy and could stimulate innovation among domestic vendors.
Larry Walsh is president and chief executive officer of Channelnomics
As part of our special editorial partnership, CRN is republishing this article from Channelnomics
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