Revealed: Huawei’s ‘five-year plan’ to address UK security fears

Chinese firm attempts to assuage concerns amid mounting accusations

It will take up to five years for Huawei to start fixing security issues in its telecoms infrastructure equipment highlighted by the UK government, it has emerged.

In a letter to Parliament's Science and Technology committee, the company warned that its $2 billion plan to address the government's concerns would not start to see measurable results for around three to five years.

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"Enhancing our software engineering capabilities is like replacing components on a high-speed train in motion," said Ryan Ding, president of Huawei's carrier business group. "We hope the UK government can understand this."

It added that while its software engineering has "room for improvement", its "operational quality and performance of our products on live networks are top in the industry".

The Chinese tech vendor has come under fire in recent years over claims that its networking hardware may be secretly being used by the Chinese government for covert surveillance. The company, which is one of the telecoms market's largest providers of 5G networking hardware, has strenuously denied these allegations, but Western governments remain unsatisfied with its response.

The UK is one of Huawei's key markets, but growing security fears have put pressure on the company; BT pledged last year that it would strip the Chinese giant's equipment out of its core infrastructure, and an independent government report in July warned that the use of Huawei equipment in critical national infrastructure could constitute a national security risk.

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Ding again refuted accusations of spying in his letter, stating that the company "has never and will never" allow its equipment to be used for espionage purposes and arguing that, due to the intense scrutiny that Huawei is under, "it would certainly destroy our business" if it did.

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