TECH Huawei's undersea cable project moves forward in SE Asia


Huawei's undersea cable project moves forward in SE Asia

Global Times

04:23, June 21, 2019


A Huawei logo on a paper bag in a store in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, as seen on Wednesday. (Photo: VCG)

Despite security concerns raised by the US and its major allies regarding Huawei's undersea cable projects, the Chinese company is welcomed by Southeast Asian countries and it will continue to move forward in its undersea cable business, which will help boost the local ICT industry. 

Huawei's representatives in Cambodia have recently had talks with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, hoping to push forward an undersea cable project connecting Sihanoukville and Hong Kong. 

However, Huawei is still undecided about launching the project as it is seeking more funding in the local market, a Huawei local PR representative told the Global Times on Thursday. If things go smoothly, it will be another major undersea project that Huawei obtains in Southeast Asia after the Malaysia-Cambodia-Thailand cable project unveiled in 2015, which helped local carriers to realize wider international network coverage. 

"This project will help enhance connection between Cambodia and the Chinese mainland, which will also help the Southeast Asian country become an ICT hub and accelerate its digital economy," the representative said. 

The Chinese company is reportedly selling its stakes of the undersea cable business amid rising suspicions about the security of its network and equipment. However, Ren Zhengfei, founder of the company, rebutted this claim.

"Huawei's subsea cable business is very successful. We're selling it not because of the recent crackdown, but because we consider that it is not closely related to our main core business," he told a panel discussion in the company's headquarters in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, on Monday. 

Huawei's representative in Cambodia said the possible divestment will not have an impact on potential projects in the region. 

Huawei Marine - Huawei's subsidiary that conducts subsea network construction - has 90 projects both ongoing and completed, with a total length of 50,361 kilometers, mainly in Southeast Asia and Africa, according to its official website. 

"The US's undersea battle with Huawei is all about taking control of data and information, which is also the backbone of networks. Washington is worried that China will gain a larger stake in the submarine cable market so that Americans will not be able to listen in to networks or steal data from others," Jiang Junmu, chief writer at telecom industry news website, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

However, Southeast Asian countries are not traditional allies of the US, so they will give more priority to their own development needs, offering more opportunities for Huawei, which usually provides quality products at lower prices, the analysts said. 

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