In 5G networks, the emphasis is more on software instead of hardware. That means an equipment maker may be able to install lines of code, called “backdoors,” that let it access what’s going on inside the network — such as monitoring data transfers, tracking locations of cell phone users, or eavesdropping on conversations.
“We endorse unified global standards that make installing backdoors a crime … we want to sign such an agreement because we think it’s the right thing to do,” Ren said.
Ren added that Huawei will invest more than $100 billion in research and development over the next five years: “We will build the simplest networks, ensure cyber security, and protect user privacy.”
The Trump administration, meanwhile, warned the German government it would limit intelligence-sharing if Berlin allows Huawei to build its 5G infrastructure, the Wall Street Journal reported last month.
— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.