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Huawei Bets Big on Lobbyists

Huawei Bets Big on Lobbyists

Today in international tech news: A Chinese phone equipment company doubles down -- more like quadruples down -- on Washington lobbyists after the House launches an investigation into possible security threats. Also: Facebook has yet another problem in Germany; a report identifies the world's fastest-growing iOS and Android markets; and Samsung leaks an internal memo about Apple.

By David Vranicar
08/28/12 8:15 AM PT

Facing an investigation into whether its growth in the U.S. poses a security threat, Huawei, China's biggest phone equipment maker, has quadrupled the money it spends on Washington lobbyists, according to the Washington Post.

The company spent more than US$800,000 on lobbying from January to June this year, a fourfold increase from the $200,000 it spent during that period a year ago, according to the report.

That explosion in spending came after the November 2011 announcement that the House Intelligence Committee had launched an investigation into Chinese phone equipment makers, namely Huawei and ZTE. The House panel is exploring whether or not the companies' presence in the U.S. facilitates espionage and threatens America's telecom infrastructure.

In the 10 months since the investigation was announced, Huawei has hired six lobbying firms.

Huawei, which had roughly $1.3 billion in revenue in 2011, up from $760 million in 2010, has denied allegations that it has ties to China's military. The company's founder, Ren Zhengfei, is a former member of the Chinese military, which has helped fuel some of the speculation.

China is often considered one of the main cyberthreats to the U.S.

Facebook Facing More Problems in Germany

A German consumer lobby group has accused Facebook of violating privacy laws with the company's new app center, App Center.

The group has given Facebook a Sept. 4 deadline to change its practices. If nothing is done, legal action could be taken.

It's turning into a long summer for Facebook in Germany. Data protection officials recently launched an investigation into Facebook's facial recognition software and its practice of retaining user information without their knowledge.

Fastest-Growing Device Markets

China and Chile are the world's fastest-growing markets for iOS and Android devices, according to a report from mobile analytics firm Flurry.

China's smart-device market grew more than 400 percent year-over-year, while Chile's market grew some 279 percent, the report found.

In terms of total iOS and Android devices, the U.S. is No. 1 with 165 million. China is No. 2 at 128 million, and the U.K. is No. 3 at 31 million.

Samsung's Angry Internal Memo

Samsung took shots at Apple Monday, according to an internal memo published on Samsung's blog.

Samsung was fined more than $1 billion on Friday after losing a patent suit to Apple. Samsung's stock value also dipped more than 7 percent Monday, erasing $12 billion in market value.

Samsung lashed out Monday, stating that it trusted consumers to side with companies that value innovation over litigation.

Apple has maintained that Samsung copied its products and that it was justified in pursuing legal action.

The Guardian has a recap of the recent Samsung/Apple drama and what it could mean for the smartphone industry.

Canada Names Anonymous as Threat

Canadian security agencies issued a warning to energy companies that the hacker group Anonymous could be planning attacks on the companies' computers, according to Bloomberg.

Anonymous issued a release in July 2011 stating that oil companies operating in Alberta's oil sands area were harming the environment. More recently, the "environmentalist faction" in Canada has become more radical, officials said.


Tech Trek is a blog that looks at tech news from around the world. David Vranicar is a freelance journalist. His ECT News Network archive, with links to articles and podcasts, is available here. You can email him at david.vranicar@newsroom.ectnews.com.



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