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China's Huawei criticizes US security complaints

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 21, 2013 at 2:50 am •  Published: January 21, 2013

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese tech giant Huawei on Monday criticized U.S. claims the company might be a security risk as trade protectionism that harms consumers.

The comments came as Huawei Technologies Ltd., a maker of network switching gear and smartphones, disclosed details of its 2012 performance in an effort to show transparency and allay security concerns.

At a news conference, chief financial officer Cathy Meng expressed frustration about U.S. security complaints. She said Americans pay about twice what Europeans do for third- and fourth-generation mobile phone service and suggested it was due to impediments to competition.

"These measures using trade protectionism to interfere with free competition will ultimately harm the benefits of end users and consumers," Meng said. "As we continue to invest in this industry and work with our customers, our customers and markets generally see the value we create for them."

Outside the United States, Huawei has grown rapidly in developing countries and is increasing sales in Europe, becoming the first Chinese firm to break into the top ranks of global technology companies. It is challenging Sweden's Ericsson AB for the status of the biggest network gear supplier.

Last year's profit rose 33 percent over 2011 to 15.4 billion yuan ($2.4 billion) on sales of 220.2 billion yuan ($34.9 billion), according to Meng. Still, last year's profit was less than half 2010's high of 24.7 billion yuan ($3.9 billion).

Huawei is privately held but has released more financial details in recent years in an effort to ease concern about the company.

Monday's news conference was the first of its kind for Huawei and part of an effort to "honor our commitment to transparency," said Meng, a daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei. She did not respond directly to a question about possible plans for further disclosures about things such as how key company decisions are made.

Huawei was set up in 1987 by Ren, a former Chinese military engineer, to sell imported telecoms equipment and later started to develop its own. The company says it is owned by its employees and denies it is controlled by the communist government or China's military, but such concerns have hampered its efforts to expand in the United States.

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