Huawei has hit back at mounting US pressure on the Chinese company, claiming American calls for allies to block its technology from the rollout of 5G telecom networks will have minimal impact on its global business.

Speaking with journalists at the company's headquarters in Shenzhen, Eric Xu, one of Huawei's three rotating chairmen, accused Washington DC of launching a "coordinated geopolitical campaign" against the company in order to gain leverage in a trade war.

Huawei, the world's biggest telecom equipment manufacturer with sales of US$100 billion ($146.4b) last year, has been embroiled in a dispute between the US and China amid allegations its equipment could be used for possible espionage and rising tensions over trade.

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer and daughter of the company's founder, was arrested in Canada in December over allegations of fraud and illegal trade with Iran.


Huawei, a major supplier to UK telecom operators including BT, has denied the allegations.

Xu said criticism of Huawei this week from Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, and calls for allies including the UK to block its technology was unwarranted and an "indication that the US government is... using a national machine against a small company - as small as a sesame seed".

He said speculation that Donald Trump might use an executive order to ban its gear from the rollout of state-of-the-art 5G telecom networks in the US would not affect Huawei.

"No matter the outcome it will not have a major impact because we have virtually no business presence there [in the US] and no expectation of a major business presence there."

He also played down further bans on Huawei technology unveiled by Australia and New Zealand, two other members of the so-called Five Eye group of intelligence-sharing nations.

"We certainly don't expect our 5G equipment to be chosen by all countries," he said.

"China Mobile didn't pick Huawei for [the city of] Guangzhou. And the market size of Australia is smaller than Guangzhou... and New Zealand is even smaller.... So, I think it's OK that we are not present in certain countries."

Xu is one of three executives who take turns serving as Huawei's chairman every six months.


"We will focus on providing good service to those companies which choose Huawei."

Xu accused the US of deliberately targeting Huawei in order to advance its interests in a trade war.

"So we have been wondering if the recent fixation on Huawei is about cybersecurity or other motivations? Some people argue that they try to find leverage for US-China trade negotiations."

He continued: "Some other people argue that because if Huawei equipment is used in those countries, US agencies would find it... harder to intercept their mobile communications."

Xu also sought to explain why in a letter to MPs Huawei said it may take up to five years and cost US$2b to make upgrades to software recommended by UK security officials last year.

He said that in order to satisfy the concerns of UK security officials, Huawei plans to completely rewrite its source code - the most basic components of its software system - a major step whose scale should not be underestimated.