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The US has threatened to rethink connectivity and information sharing with any nation using Huawei equipment in any part of their 5G infrastructure. Washington first declared the company a “national security threat” in 2012, when it alleged that the equipment of Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE contain back doors that may enable Beijing to spy.

With nations around the world racing to roll out super-fast 5G internet services, the US appeal to boycott Huawei has intensified. Washington has completely blocked the world’s largest telecommunications company – and biggest manufacturer of 5G technology – from its own 5G networks and demanded other countries follow suit.

Some countries have been persuaded by the cybersecurity concerns raised and also blocked Huawei. Others are still deciding what to do while they carry out their own security reviews. Many have brushed aside US fears to work with Huawei’s advanced 5G technology.

In Southeast Asia, the choice is often more a matter of economics than geopolitics.

By the end of March 2019, Huawei had signed 40 contracts around the world to supply 5G gear. Of these contracts, 23 were in Europe, 10 in the Middle East, six in the Asia-Pacific region and one in Africa.

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