Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 23 August 2019

Business Extra: Huawei and the promise of 5G

The US says the Chinese telecoms equipment maker is a potential security risk. But are these concerns legitimate or part of a wider trade war between Washington and Beijing?

People walk past a Huawei sign board at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show Asia in Shanghai. Reuters
People walk past a Huawei sign board at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show Asia in Shanghai. Reuters

The promise of lightning-fast internet speeds and a hyper-connected world that will spawn a new era of automation and AI is at the heart of the promise of 5G technology. Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms equipment maker, is both building this bright future and being accused of facilitating the darker side of this technology.

The United States and allies such as the United Kingdom are determined to prevent Huawei from being part of the building of their respective 5G networks. They fear this will provide a gateway for Chinese security agencies to spy on them.

Huawei denies this is a legitimate concern and other nations in Europe, Asia and the Middle East – including the UAE – have given work to the company, which says its business outside the US is not affected and is taking steps to seize other opportunities.

How much is this focus on Huawei part of the broader trade row? Are these concerns over Huawei about more than just politics? Should we fear Chinese technological hegemony anymore than we should worry about US dominance? Also, is the promise of 5G real enough that it won’t matter which country dominates the technology if all have access to it? And what does that mean for investors in this region?

We discuss in this week's episode of the Business Extra podcast. Listen here:

Host Mustafa Alrawi, The National's assistant editor in chief, explores these themes with Dr John Rutledge, chief investment officer at global investment company Safanad. Dr Rutledge has been an economic adviser to the Reagan and Bush administrations and is advising the current Trump White House on recent China trade negotiations.

Also in this episode, The National's Chris Nelson and Jennifer Gnana run through top news stories including the latest Abraaj arrest and the US decision to cancel sanctions waivers on Iranian oil imports for eight countries and what that means for energy markets and global economic growth.

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Updated: April 25, 2019 06:28 PM

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