The Australian government on Thursday banned Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei from supplying equipment for a 5G mobile network. It said in a statement that firms “who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government… may risk failure by the carrier to adequately protect a 5G network from unauthorised access or interference.” The statement did not name names, but everyone knows it meant Huawei and another Chinese telecom firm ZTE Corp.
“This is an extremely disappointing result for consumers,” Huawei Australia responded Thursday.
Apart from the US, Australia has become the strictest Western country to exclude Chinese manufacturers from its markets. Its decision on Thursday is tantamount to setting a precedent of discriminating against Huawei in the name of national security. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government said it wanted to improve ties with China. But in action, it stabbed Huawei, a company that embodies China’s reform and opening-up, in the back.
Huawei is a 100 percent private company as well as a highly internationalised company. It participates in the construction of communication networks in more than 100 countries worldwide and is leading the way in 5G technology.
The US is elbowing Huawei out for national security. But to a large extent, Washington wanted to protect its own markets while suppressing Chinese high-tech companies. Last year, US intelligence agencies warned Australia about the alleged security risks of cooperating with Huawei. The US further squeezed Huawei’s global market through its allies.
Australia is influenced by the US, and has surpassed the US in certain aspects.
Washington and its followers boycotting Chinese producers should be aware that the world’s largest telecommunications market is in China and the largest comprehensive market in the future is also in China. Those who willfully hurt Chinese companies with an excuse of national security will meet their nemesis.
The fundamental problem of Australia is it has not yet established a correct view of China and has adopted a wrong way of interacting with Beijing – being self-centered and following the US to take advantage of China while boycotting the country. It often carries out abrupt and radical actions against China that run counter to close Sino-Australian collaboration.
Canberra is blocking Huawei from building a 5G network in Australia. Will the move cause a domino effect in Western countries? Not necessarily. Huawei’s 5G technology is not only advanced, but also offers a considerable quality-price ratio. Excluding Huawei would mean the cost of network construction for telecom operators will rise and their service will decline. Consumers will have to foot the bill. Not all developed countries are hysterical about so-called security issues.
In the 4G era, China has witnessed its own mobile payment and shared transportation generally getting ahead of most developed countries. If some nations refuse to open up in the 5G era, they will likely encounter a larger gap. As long as Chinese equipment makers keep improving their technologies and quality-price ratio, their charm will eventually be unstoppable.