Huawei opens European cyber security center, a milestone in valuing its security commitment

Huawei lunched a new cyber security transparency center on Tuesday in Brussels, Belgium, a direct response to the security debate in Europe ignited by the US government.

The 1000-square-meter facility will enable companies to test Huawei's equipment and products.

An open and digitally prosperous Europe requires a secure, trustworthy digital environment and Huawei opened the new cyber security center to help build that environment, Ken Hu, rotating chairman of the Chinese tech giant, said during the opening ceremony.

"At Huawei, we have a principal code for security - assume nothing, believe no one and check everything," he said, noting that both trust and distrust should be based on verifiable facts.

"As the 5G era looms, the industry is now facing major challenges including cyber risks exposed in a more connected world, a lack of unified understanding of cyber security and of unified technical standards," Hu said.

US authorities have launched a full-scale campaign against Huawei, charging it with stealing technology, violating trade sanctions and blocking it from doing business in the American market. And US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, warned European allies to drop Huawei's equipment and products, citing risks to national security of European countries.

Compared to the US government, which is dominated by political rhetoric, European officials and industry representatives appear to be more rational about security concerns from the next generation of wireless technologies.

"Huawei will never send its data in Europe back to China, which is against local law. We've built a team to protect consumer data in the region," Zhang Miao, senior privacy and security specialist of the EU data protection office of Huawei, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"They [US] accuse us of security risks, but as long as we're more transparent, Huawei has nothing to fear and nothing to hide," an employee at the center told the Global Times.

It has taken two years for Huawei to establish this center to meet higher safety requirements in the EU.

The only way to counter cyber threats is by working together, and the collaboration across the industry is key, Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer of telecoms industry body GSMA, told the launch event.

"Obviously this [center] is all about ensuring trust on the part of citizens and for the government," Sinclair told the Global Times. This move could increase the level of openness and transparency, which will be helpful for fostering trust.

Huawei's new cyber security center, opened in the heart of EU policymakers, is a milestone in the company's commitment to prioritizing security, Hu noted.

"The center will give Huawei's customers an opportunity to evaluate our products and they can bring in third-party experts to make evaluations," Andy Purdy, chief security officer of Huawei US, told the Global Times.

"We believe that this center represents an example of the kind of transparency that all companies need and can be part of," he said.