Huawei and ZTE have both hit back at comments from the US House of Representatives, which questioned the companies’ credentials for working in the US market. This came after concerns about their Chinese ownership and links with the state, and the possible security implications of this.

According to a statement from Huawei, the report, which took eleven months to complete, “failed to provide clear information or evidence to substantiate the legitimacy of the Committee's concerns”. It also said that despite its “best efforts” to cooperate, including meetings in the US and China, opening its R&D and manufacturing centres, and providing full details of its ownership and management, “the Committee appears to have been committed to a predetermined outcome”.

Reports have previously suggested that Huawei has missed out on projects including Sprint’s broad Network Vision modernisation project, due to concerns about its legitimacy.

David Dai Shu, director of global affairs for ZTE, said in a statement: “It is noteworthy that, after a year-long investigation, the Committee rests its conclusions on a finding that ZTE may not be ‘free of state influence.’ This finding would apply to any company operating in China. The Committee has not challenged ZTE’s fitness to serve the US market based on any pattern of unethical or illegal behaviour.”

Both companies noted that regardless of vendor, the majority of telecoms equipment sold globally uses components made in China or is assembled in Chinese plants, with product development a similarly international affair.

Huawei said: “Almost every ICT firm is conducting R&D, software coding and production activities globally; they share the same supply chain, and the challenges on network security is beyond a company or a country. The Committee's report completely ignored this fact. We have to suspect that the only purpose of such a report is to impede competition and obstruct Chinese ICT companies from entering the US market.”

ZTE’s Dai Shu said: “Particularly given the severity of the Committee’s recommendations,  ZTE recommends that the Committee’s investigation be extended to include every company making equipment  in China, including the Western vendors. That is the only way to truly protect US equipment and US national security.”