Could Huawei security concerns impact recently opened NJ R&D center?

Esther Surden
Publisher & Editor,

When Huawei, the China-based global information communications and telecom company, established its North American R&D offices in Bridgewater in July 2012, N.J. celebrated because the company pledged to bring some 55 additional jobs here. Later reports increased that figure to 90.

In January 2011, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority(EDA) gave the company’s U.S. subsidiary, FutureWei Technologies, a $1.3 million Business Incentive Program grant as part of the state’s plan to create new jobs. In July, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno was there to cut the ribbon at the company’s new facility. NJTechWeekly covered the event here.

Now Huawei is in trouble, the kind that could affect its U.S. operations. As reported by the New York Times and many others, the company was mentioned in a House Intelligence Committee report written after a yearlong investigation of it and another Chinese firm, ZTE. The report essentially concluded that U.S. companies should think twice about doing business with the Chinese firms.

"The risks associated with these companies providing equipment and services to U.S.-critical infrastructure undermine the core U.S. national security risks," Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), committee chairman, said in a press conference.

The report says U.S. government and sensitive infrastructure systems should avoid using Huawei equipment. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) warned of a heightened risk of cyber-espionage or cyber attack from the two firms, which he said have ties to the Chinese government.

As mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, the report drew a denial from the Chinese government and some strong words from a Chinese commerce ministry spokesman, who warned that relations between the two countries could be hurt by the publication. He added that the report is based on subjective conjecture and untrue foundations and made groundless accusations against China.

Esther Surden is Publisher and Editor of NJTechWeekly, and a contributor to Philly Tech News. This was an excerpt from an article that originally appeared in NJTechWeekly.