Chinese tech company Huawei is seeking to meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss a possible delay of its removal from the United Kingdom’s 5G cell networks, the Sunday Times reports. The proposed delay would push the controversial tech firm’s removal past the country’s elections in June 2025, at which point Huawei hopes that a new government will reverse the removal entirely.
The U.K. allowed Huawei onto its 5G networks in January. However, sanctions imposed against the Chinese company by the U.S. prompted the British government to reconsider its place in the country’s infrastructure.
In exchange for this delay, Huawei has pledged to continue maintaining its equipment currently being used in the U.K. for older 2G, 3G, and 4G networks.
The perceived security risk posed by the Chinese company has led to calls, from at home and abroad, for Johnson to ban it outright. A decision on the matter is expected to be announced by July 22.
Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to London, has said that the pending ban would set a bad precedent and send a “very bad message” to Chinese businesses looking to work in the U.K.
Founded in 1987 and based in Shenzhen, China, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., provides telecommunications equipment, like the kind at the center of the debate in the U.K., as well as consumer electronics, including their “Mate” brand of smartphones and “MateBook” brand of laptops. As of 2019, the company employs around 194,000 workers and had total equity of over $42 billion.
Despite its success, Huawei’s business has been dogged by controversy over the years, due to its proximity to China’s People’s Liberation Army and accusations that its products are used for espionage purposes overseas. Due to sanctions placed on the company by President Donald Trump, the company in 2019 moved its North American research center from Santa Clara, California, to Canada.