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Who are Huawei?

How has the Chinese technology company Huawei become so powerful? Karishma Vaswani explores its origin and asks if concerns over security could threaten its global pre-eminence.

Chinese technology company, Huawei, is the world’s biggest supplier of network telecoms equipment, and with a research budget of up to $20 billion, its ambition is to be even bigger still. However, it’s also one of the most controversial businesses of our time. The United States and others have banned its involvement in their critical infrastructure, fearing that Beijing might use the company to spy, steal trade secrets, or even wage cyber warfare. Huawei insists that its networks are as secure as anyone else’s, and says that its technology is literally years ahead of competitors, so countries who reject it risk falling behind. As the world prepares for a technological revolution through 5th Generation mobile communications, the BBC has gained rare access to Huawei’s founder and Chairman, Ren Zhengfei, to explore his company’s origins, its rise to global pre-eminence, and what makes it tick. And, to ask if the current security questions threaten its continued growth.

Presenter: Karishma Vaswani
Producer: Michael Gallagher

Picture: Customers entering a Huawei Technologies Co. store in Beijing, China
Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

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27 minutes