ZTE insisted it is a trusted partner for customers in the US and takes cybersecurity seriously, hitting back at allegations from government officials the company uses its presence in the country to spy for China.
Chinese state news agency Xinhua cited a company representative as stating: “ZTE is proud of the innovation and security of our products in the US market”, while adding it prioritises cybersecurity and privacy and always obeyed the law.
“As a publicly traded company, we are committed to adhering to all applicable laws and regulations of the US, work with carriers to pass strict testing protocols and adhere to the highest business standards,” the representative explained.
The comments come as concerns continue to grow in the US about the perceived threat from Chinese technology companies, with ZTE and fellow Chinese equipment vendor Huawei in the firing line.
Reuters reported this week US senators, spy experts, academics and businesses advising the government had warned China is trying to gain access to US technologies and intellectual properties through telecoms companies.
Earlier this month Republican Senators Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio also introduced legislation which would block the US government from buying or leasing telecoms equipment from Huawei or ZTE.
At the turn of the year, AT&T and Verizon dropped plans to sell Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro device in the country in response to US government concerns.
A government report also recently indicated the US was considering constructing a national 5G network to safeguard against the perceived threat from China, although this plan is unlikely to come to fruition given objections from the industry.
Huawei had also hit back at the allegations, stating it was still making a push in the US with its devices. ZTE is also reportedly planning to release a phone capable of delivering 5G network services in the US by early 2019.
Spying allegations against both companies date back to 2012 when the US investigated whether their equipment could be used for espionage or represented a threat to US infrastructure.
Both companies have always denied the claims.
ZTE was notably hit with a $1 billion fine in 2017 for breaching US trade sanctions in Iran.