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Still At the Heart Of The US-China Trade war, Huawei Launches 5G Lab In South Korea

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Huawei Technologies on Thursday launched a lab for 5G wireless network in South Korea, but had the opening on a low key given the recent brouhaha with the United States and its security allies.

It did not invite the media to the launch and neither did it provide details about the location of the lab due to the trade war which has intensified in the week couple of weeks. The Chinese tech firm, said it planned to invest $5m in the lab. The Huawei Korea office said in a statement:

Based on the philosophy of “In Korea and For Korea and the strength of its own 5G ecosystem through cooperation with a number of South Korean ICT companies and especially small and medium enterprises.”

However, the ban presided over by Washington overshadowed the event. The US had championed a cause to restrict American tech companies from doing business with the Chinese tech giant, the world’s top producer of telecom equipment, and has urged its allies to do the same, with an argument that Huawei has ties with Beijing, the military and the security service and will therefore spy on them. Huawei has repeatedly denied this claim with a response that it works independently as private firm.  

Someone who has knowledge about the event told Reuters that Huawei had initially planned to invite the media to the launch but decided otherwise following the US ban.

Huawei wanted to promote the launch to as many Korean small-and-medium enterprises as possible, but it decided to keep the press out after the ban to avoid any damage to its Korean partners in case they are shown in media,” the person said, choosing to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the subject.

South Korea finds itself in a fix between the US, its security ally and Huawei, one of its biggest customers for memory chips. Both parties had planned an event to strengthen the tech ties in Asia but was overshadowed by the restriction orders from Washington. Huawei’s move expresses Huawei’s commitment to South Korea, the country from which it purchases its chips and screens.

The lab is the Huawei’s first 5G services development centre worldwide. This centre will allow other companies to test their platforms, the company said. The company currently provides its 5G network service from a carrier in South Korea owned by LG Uplus. LG Uplus said it has no intentions to evacuate the Chinese owned firm but would intensify security. 

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