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Huawei, ZTE face House hearing on security threats

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 2:58pm
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

The House Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing next week on cybersecurity threats from Chinese telecommunications vendors Huawei and ZTE, companies long scrutinized for alleged ties to the Chinese government.

ZTE confirmed that it intends to participate. Zhu Jinyun, a senior vice president at the company, will serve as ZTE's representative during the hearing. The company said it has provided the government with "detailed factual responses" to the committee's inquiries.

"In most respects, ZTE is similar to multi-national tech companies that have emerged in Silicon Valley," it said, pointing to its customer base of 500 operators in 140 countries.

Huawei did not immediately reply to requests for comment. A company spokesman told The Wall Street Journal that Huawei would only participate if the committee could agree to "appropriate arrangements" but did not offer specifics on what those arrangements would consist of.

The hearing was announced just two days after Huawei issued a 24-page report aimed at reassuring governments outside China that it was not a security threat. In the report, Huawei pushed for a collaborative approach on cybersecurity.

The Sept. 13 hearing comes less than a year after the committee opened an investigation into the two companies to determine whether they provided the Chinese government with "opportunity for greater foreign espionage, threaten our critical infrastructure and further the opportunity for Chinese economic espionage."

The two main backers of the investigation, Michigan Republican Mike Rogers and Maryland Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger, said when the effort was announced last November that companies other than ZTE and Huawei were included in the fact-finding effort but did not name specific firms. The investigation remains ongoing.

Only ZTE and Huawei will be represented at the hearing next week, according to the committee's website.

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