5 things about China's Huawei after executive's arrest

Chinese officials on Wednesday demanded the return of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies and a member of its board, who was arrested by Canadian law enforcement in Vancouver on Saturday at the request of USA authorities.

It said it could not say more as Ms Meng had sought a ban on the publication of details and this had been ordered by the courts.

Huawei issued a statement saying Meng was changing flights in Canada when she was detained "on behalf of the United States of America" to face "unspecified charges" in NY.

China on Thursday demanded Canada release a Huawei Technologies executive who was arrested in a case that adds to technology tensions with Washington and threatens to complicate trade talks.

Huawei released a statement as well, saying it had "been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing", reported Al Jazeera.

"The company believes the Canadian and USA legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion".

The Chinese government said Meng had broken no USA or Canadian laws and demanded Canada "immediately correct the mistake" and release her. She was arrested December 1 after the U.S. Department of Justice in April opened an investigation into whether the telecommunications giant sold gear to Iran despite sanctions on exports to the region.

That same month, Washington barred Huawei rival ZTE Corp. from exporting US technology in a separate case over exports to Iran and North Korea.

Huawei added that it "complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US and European Union".

That executive was Huawei's chief financial officer and deputy chair Meng Wanzhou - who is also the daughter of the company's founder.

The arrest came shortly after news broke that China and the USA had agreed to a 90-day suspension of their ongoing trade war.

Thus, the arrest of Meng - which apparently had been planned through coordination by both Canadian and US authorities - was seen by many hawkish Chinese analysts as a sign that the USA government does not really intend to suspend aggressive actions against China.

The Chinese Embassy in Canada condemned the detention of Ms Meng denying she had violated Chinese or U.S. laws.

Huawei is not the first Chinese telecoms equipment firm to face the ire of United States authorities. Huawei suppliers AAC Technologies (AACAY) and Sunny Optical (SNPTF) both plunged around 6%.

Meanwhile, the substantially more independent South China Morning Post reported today that Meng and her father recently told Huawei employees that strict compliance with regulations was sometimes not financially feasible and could be avoided.

A foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said then that China hoped the USA would refrain from taking actions that could further undermine investor confidence in the United States business environment and harm its domestic economy.

"We are full of confidence that China and the USA can reach an agreement within 90 days", the spokesman said Thursday.

China could "take hostages" and is nearly certain to retaliate against the United States, experts say, after the stunning arrest of a top Chinese tech executive for allegedly trying to skirt sanctions on Iran.

In 2012, the House of Representatives released a report warning Huawei poses a national security threat to the USA, and American companies and its government should avoid doing business with the company.

While Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. dominate headlines thanks to flashy growth and high-profile billionaire founders, Ren's company is by far China's most global technology company, with operations spanning Africa, Europe and Asia.

A month later, Washington and Beijing reached a deal that would strike ZTE from the sanctions list - just days after China reportedly offered to ramp up purchases of American goods to reduce the trade imbalance with the US. "Huawei of course is a global player, and has made major inroads in developing countries, and even developed countries", Harwit said. Personnel on United States military bases are banned from buying ZTE and Huawei equipment.

Top British and New Zealand telecom providers have banned Huawei from their 5G networks, as did the Australian government.

  • Wendy Palmer