Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei gives first media interview

Ren Zhengfei
Image caption Mr Ren has so far been reluctant to give media interviews

Ren Zhengfei, the founder of China's Huawei - the world's second-largest telecom equipment maker - has spoken to the media for the first time.

The interview comes as Huawei has been under scrutiny in countries such as the US over alleged contacts with the Chinese military and the government.

Mr Ren sought to allay those fears, saying jealousy over its success may be a factor behind such allegations.

The 68 year-old spoke to a group of New Zealand-based journalists.

He has avoided the media since he founded the company 26 years ago, but during a visit to see operations in Wellington, agreed to meet four local journalists.

No international media were allowed, nor any photographers.

"Huawei has no connection to the cyber-security issues the US has encountered in the past, current and future," he told the reporters.

"Huawei equipment is almost non-existent in networks currently running in the US. We have never sold any key equipment to major US carriers, nor have we sold any equipment to any US government agency," Mr Ren said.

Rapid growth

Huawei has enjoyed tremendous success over the past few years, becoming a key global player in the telecom sector.

It not only makes telecoms equipment, but has also ventured into manufacturing smartphones, a sector where it has gained a significant market share.

However, fears about its ties with the Chinese military have frequently surfaced, not least because of Mr Ren's past.

He joined the Communist Party in 1978 and is a former member of the People's Liberation Army.

There have been concerns and allegations that Huawei was helping China gather information on foreign states and companies, charges that the firm has denied.

According to a Fairfax Media, one of the outlets to interview Mr Ren, he told reporters that he was confident that no staff member of Huawei would engage in spying even if asked to do so by Chinese agencies.

He also added that when he joined the Communist Party in 1978, it was expected all "exceptional" people in China would do so.

"At that time my personal belief was to work hard, dedicate myself or even sacrifice myself for the benefit of the people," he was quoted as saying.

"Joining the Communist Party was in line with that aspiration."

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