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Huawei: China warns of investment blow to UK over 5G ban


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A top Chinese diplomat has warned that there would be “substantial” repercussions for her country’s investment in the UK, if Huawei were to be banned from Britain’s 5G network.

Chen Wen also told the BBC that Beijing had already “witnessed some conscious moves” in that direction.

Earlier this week, Cambridge-based chip designer ARM told staff to stop working with Huawei.

Two UK mobile operators also axed plans to stock the Chinese firm’s 5G phones.

Huawei is considered a world-leading provider of next-generation 5G technology, which will provide superfast mobile internet connections.

Speaking to the World at One on Radio 4, Ms Chen, who is the Chinese Charge D’affairs in London, said the UK economy would be damaged by the message any ban on Huawei sent out to international and Chinese companies.

“The message is not going to be very positive,” she said.

“Is UK still open? Is UK still extending a welcoming arm to other Chinese investors?”

When asked how large the repercussions would be, the embassy official said: “It’s hard to predict at the moment, but I think it’s going to be quite substantial.”

Last week the US, which is concerned that Huawei products could be used as a “backdoor” for Chinese spies, put the company on a list of firms that American businesses cannot trade with.

Ms Chen insisted that her government would never force a Chinese firm operating abroad to provide information to its intelligence agencies.

She went on to claim that there was a bit of “hysteria” in the United States about the rise of Chinese influence and the UK should make decisions based on its own national interest.

She called Huawei’s investment in the UK “a vote of confidence in the UK economy”.

Chips and phones

On Wednesday chip designer ARM told employees they must halt “all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements” with Huawei to comply with a recent US trade clampdown.

ARM’s designs form the basis of most mobile device processors worldwide.

On the same day, EE confirmed that its range of 5G phones would not include Huawei models.

It followed a decision from Google to bar the smartphone maker from some updates to the Android operating system.



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