Pompeo's Europe visit unlikely to destroy Huawei's 5G business: analysts

By GT staff reporters Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/11 20:38:15


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to four Central and Eastern European nations this week, where he is expected to discuss topics including 5G and counter-China actions, shows that the Trump administration is sparing no effort to push its China containment policy as the November presidential election nears. But the threats of the incumbent US government are less likely to destroy Huawei's 5G businesses in the region, which exemplify China's tech prowess beyond its home turf, Chinese analysts said on Tuesday.

Pompeo was scheduled to travel to the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Austria and Poland from Tuesday to Saturday, according to a US Department of State announcement on Thursday.

A rough scheduling of the trip, per the announcement, revealed that Pompeo will address efforts to counter the actions of Russia and China, and deliver remarks on so-called 5G information security.

The US hopes to continue pressuring Central and Eastern European nations to take a tough line on Huawei's involvement in their 5G networks, but they tend to hold onto an ambiguous attitude toward the Chinese 5G pioneer, Fu Liang, a Beijing-based veteran telecom industry observer, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

It's especially the case as the US presidential election approaches, essentially rendering it unlikely to have the continent at the Trump administration's beck and call, Fu said. 

Even the UK's U-turned ban on the new Huawei 5G kit won't be enforced until the end of the year, or after the November election. What's more, a seven-year timetable the UK set for phasing out existing Huawei equipment offers sufficient time for the current gear to be replaced by next-generation technology, indicating the UK's continued equivocation, the analyst said.

Furthermore, with Germany and France, the two major EU powers, staying away from ripping out Huawei equipment, the US' pressure tactics would have a limited impact on Huawei's 5G commitments to the European market, he said. 

The Chinese telecom equipment giant said in October that more than half of 91 5G commercial contracts it has signed globally came from Europe.

Understandably, these Central and Eastern European nations are prone to waver in their support of Huawei technology, which offers an unparalleled performance, and are subjected to US pressure, Xiang Ligang, director-general of telecoms industry association Information Consumption Alliance, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Data from market research firm Dell'Oro showed that Huawei led the global 5G telecom equipment market in the first quarter of the year with a 35.7 percent share, followed by Ericsson at 24.6 percent, Nokia at 15.8 percent, and Samsung with 13.2 percent.

Global market share of 5G communication equipment in Q1 Graphics: GT

The tough balance between opting for premium Chinese technology and yielding to US demands would be a headache for these countries. However, whichever side they take won't affect Huawei's presence in the European market, Xiang said. 

The US government would probably rethink its China strategy after the presidential election, even though the China containment policy might continue to take hold. That means an insane clampdown on Chinese technology might temporality come to an end, thereby resurrecting calls to restore China-US tech supply chains, he said.

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

blog comments powered by Disqus