Last Tuesday, the Chinese telecommunications multi, Huawei, opened its R&D center in Budapest. As we wrote about in the Index, the company recently celebrated its fifteenth anniversary in Hungary. There was also something to do, because while under Western pressure, Huawei’s room for maneuver in the world is shrinking, the company continues to operate smoothly, with a government downwind. Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó also attended last week’s event and praised the good relations established with Beijing and Huawei.
– the US Embassy in Budapest responded to Huawei’s new investment. The Index approached the U.S. office because in recent years Washington has repeatedly warned the Hungarian government of the threat posed by the Chinese company. Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo has visited our region several times, and Huawei has been a priority during all such visits. But the diplomats of the US Embassy in Budapest, including Ambassador David Cornstein, drew attention to the phenomenon in background discussions and interviews.
– read the response from the US Embassy. As they write, currently 25 European Union and NATO member states have joined the Clean Network program. The Washington Foreign Office launched the initiative, which aim to protect citizens and companies from aggressive attacks by ‘malicious actors such as the Chinese Communist Party’.
– so the US Embassy. Their words show that our country is not yet part of the American initiative.
But in his letter, the embassy also addressed the data collection scandal of recent weeks. As the Index wrote earlier, the Chinese company Shenzhen Zhenhua Data Information Technology collected data on 2.4 million people, including more than seven hundred Hungarians. In this regard, the US Embassy notes
The source of the conflict between the United States and Huawei is that Washington sees the company as a Trojan village in Beijing. U.S. foreign affairs said Huawei is unreliable, the company passes on information collected about users to the Chinese government. This criticism dates back to the 2000s, but has recently become a central theme in world politics.
On the one hand, because of US President Donald Trump’s anti-China policy, Huawei has been put in the crossfire of politics, but the story also has an important economic, technological side. And this is a matter of building the 5G networks already mentioned. Huawei is currently the market leader in the new technology that promises the next industrial revolution, and if they can build 5G networks in much of the world, it will be a challenge not only in terms of security but also in terms of money for the United States and its allies.
We responded to the American accusations with Huawei. The Hungarian subsidiary of the Chinese company said to the Index: the criticisms are out of touch with reality.
– wrote in his reply the telecommunications company. We also asked how the security of users ’personal information is guaranteed. In this regard, the company said local laws are complied with in all countries. “We operate in Europe in accordance with EU law, taking into account GDPR regulations,” the company adds, noting that so far only the United States has banned them from its markets, currently present in 170 countries around the world. They add that although there are countries that have imposed stricter conditions on the company in deploying the 5G network, this problem does not exist in the EU.
– says Huawei, referring subtly to the issue of sovereignty in EU-US relations.
In Hungary, in any case, the company has no problems. We also asked the Chinese multin about this. As they write, our country is an open and balanced economy where
They add that due to the favorable conditions, Hungary is considered a strategic partner, from which Hungary also benefits. Over the past five years, they have increased their investments here by 6-8 percent per year, but the rate of tax paid by us has also increased by 28 percent. Huawei sees serious opportunities in the Buda headquarters for research on artificial intelligence. 10 to 12 percent of our annual revenue is spent on research and development, reaching $ 100 billion in the last ten years.
(Cover image: Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, on the 15th anniversary of Huawei’s presence in Hungary in Haris Park, Buda, on October 20.)