In conversation with... Sophie Batas
Huawei and Europe have achieved huge success working together for the past 20 years, 5G will take this even further, says Huawei’s Director for Cybersecurity and Privacy, Sophie Batas.
Why is Europe important for Huawei?
The three major stakeholders in cyberspace – Europe, the US and China, should invest more in a joint, constructive political discussion, to talk about collaboration and defining common rules. In fact, there are two major opportunities this year to shape that political mood, with the two EU-China summits coming up. Europe can help drive this change now. Huawei is truly an international company – made up of people from all over the world. It is human connections and qualities - the trust between people - that ultimately get things done, regardless of any geopolitical policies that may try to get in the way. Huawei may have started as a small company in China, but we have grown to be a world leader. In that time, we learned from the rest of the world while we grew – also from the US and Europe. Europe should be proud of Huawei’s success, as Europe has taught Huawei much of what we know and do today. So, Huawei is more committed to Europe than ever before. We are looking forward to the next 20 years here as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of our presence in Europe this year.
Huawei has ambitious plans for its operations in Europe?
To be very clear, we believe we can partner with Europe, playing a major role in achieving its digital sovereignty by encouraging innovation, promoting and working with European industry, helping it to become the world’s digital leader. This is a great opportunity for Europe. Digital sovereignty refers to decision-making independent of political pressure from other world regions and players. It also means developing alternatives to the already-dominant providers in the sector. Currently, it is non-European companies that are dictating many areas of the digital realm. Europe should respond by developing true European competitors and partnering with global tech leaders – like Huawei – to create genuine alternatives to the US companies that currently seek to control the world’s digital destiny. And we want to be even more integrated. This is why we have decided to set up manufacturing bases in Europe; that way, we can truly have 5G for Europe made in Europe. We are prepared to make substantial investments.
"Europe should be proud of Huawei’s success, as Europe has taught Huawei much of what we know and do today"
What is Huawei’s reaction to the EU’s 5G cybersecurity toolbox?
Huawei welcomes Europe’s decision, which enables Huawei to continue participating in Europe’s 5G roll-out. This non-biased and fact-based approach towards 5G security allows Europe to have a more secure and faster 5G network. Huawei has been present in Europe for almost 20 years and has a proven track record with regard to security. We will continue to work with European governments and industry to develop common standards to strengthen the security and reliability of the network. Ahead of the EU’s move, Huawei had already published a list of 15 recommendations for the highest 5G Cybersecurity standards late last year. The key to safe 5G networks is an integrated approach where all stakeholders take a responsible, inclusive approach.
"We will continue to work with European governments and industry to develop common standards to strengthen the security and reliability of the network"
The UK also took a decision on Huawei’s role in the 5G rollout recently. What is your reaction?
Huawei is reassured by the UK government’s confirmation that we can continue working with our customers to keep the 5G roll-out on track. This evidence-based decision will result in a more advanced, more secure and more cost-effective telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future. It gives the UK access to world-leading technology and ensures a competitive market. We have supplied cutting-edge technology to telecoms operators in the UK for more than 15 years. We will build on this strong track record, supporting our customers as they invest in their 5G networks, boosting economic growth and helping the UK continue to compete globally. We agree that a diverse vendor market and fair competition are essential for network reliability and innovation, as well as ensuring consumers have access to the best possible technology.
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