Huawei lashes out at Australia’s ‘politically motivated’ ban on 5G products

Key Points
  • Huawei and ZTE were blocked from rolling out 5G technology in Australia over national security concerns.
  • Huawei on Friday condemned the decision, calling it "politically motivated."
  • It said it was not compelled by Chinese law to install "backdoors or listening devices" to engage in espionage.
Richard Yu, chief executive officer of Huawei Technologies Co., holds the Mate 10 Pro smartphone while speaking during the company's keynote event at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. 
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei criticized the Australian government for preventing it from being able to sell 5G products in the country.

Shenzhen-based Huawei, along with domestic rival ZTE, were blocked from rolling out 5G technology in Australia Thursday over national security concerns.

Huawei said in a tweet that day that the move was "disappointing" and maintained it had provided wireless technology in Australia "safely and securely" for 15 years.

But on Friday, the company stepped up its position on the matter, calling the decision "politically motivated."

"It is not aligned with the long-term interests of the Australian people, and denies Australian businesses and consumers the right to choose from the best communications technology available," Huawei said in an emailed statement to CNBC.

Australia's Department of Communications and the Arts was not immediately available for comment on the latest comments from Huawei.

What is 5G?
What is 5G?

The Australian government said Thursday that it could not allow firms that can be "subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law" to participate in 5G rollouts.

Critics claim Chinese smartphone manufacturers like Huawei and ZTE cannot be trusted due to the legal requirement that citizens and businesses cooperate with Chinese intelligence authorities. In the U.S. and elsewhere in the West, authorities have alleged that Huawei's technology could be used to spy on customers.

Huawei said Friday that it was not compelled by Chinese law to install "backdoors or listening devices" to engage in espionage, and that it had "never been asked to engage in intelligence work on behalf of any government."

The firm's Chief Executive Richard Yu has been vocal about the company's struggle to gain traction in the U.S. market. Earlier this year, he condemned Huawei's American rivals for allegedly playing politics to boot it out of the country.

Huawei has quickly secured its position as the second biggest smartphone seller in the world, dethroning Apple in the second quarter.

The development of 5G technology is an important battleground for tech and telecoms firms. Various companies in the sector are racing to build products for the next generation of wireless networks.

CNBC's Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.