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China flexes her muscles in America

October 17, 2011

China’s economic dominance means that it not only gets to tell the European Union how it will bail it out, but it also translates into the dominance of her language and culture worldwide and more recently it gives Chinese companies the bravado needed to throw its weight around a debt ridden US economy.

Pushing the stop button on American outcries over the undervalued yuan, balancing the basket of goods more evenly and bans on Chinese companies acquiring American companies, Huawei, one of the largest Chinese companies in  America launched an aggressive counter-offensive against the US government on Friday, saying it is high time the US detail “unsubstantiated” national security concerns in the wake of a decision to block the business from building a national emergency communications network.

In a message that could well resonate in India as well, William Plummer, Huawei’s vice-president of external affairs said “Stop the manufactured fear. If you have something to say, substantiate it,”.

The group has, in effect, been barred from acquiring two companies over the past four years by the US government, which also intervened in a separate attempt by Huawei to bid for a big contract with Sprint, a big US telecommunications operator. In that instance, according to a person familiar with the matter, the government was also contemplating actions that would have barred Huawei from importing into the US, but stopped short of doing so.

Huawei had formerly maintained a fairly deferential tone in its dealings with the government, but it is now demanding answers from the US Department of Commerce.

Like Washington, New Delhi too, in the light of Huawei being a Chinese company has over the past few years asked for transparency in its equipment, software and dealings in India. In lieu of ensuring security in the telecom sphere, this summer Huawei also signed an agreement with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) for a project to develop a safety certification regime for all  imported telecom equipment. However now the company which supplies almost 60 percent of India’s telecom equipment says the shoe is in the other foot and it won’t be too long before it starts to call the shots in India too.

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