It's no secret that Chinese telecom gear maker Huawei and the US government aren't exactly best friends -- for the past couple of years, the US has accused Huawei of cyberespionage on behalf of the Chinese military.
It appears this spat may now have escalated into a full-fledged falling-out.
Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei told French news site Les Echos last week that he no longer wanted to stay in the US market.
"If Huawei gets in the middle of US-China relations," and causes problems, "it's not worth it," Ren reportedly said, according to a
Chinese transcript of the interview translated by Foreign Policy. "Therefore, we have decided to exit the US market, and not stay in the middle."
It's unclear how serious Ren's threats are or if there's any timeline to Huawei possibly pulling out of the US market. When contacted by CNET, a Huawei spokesperson was vague regarding Ren's statement.
"We remain committed to our customers, employees, investments, and operations and more than $1 billion in sales in the US," the spokesperson said, "and we stand ready to deliver additional competition and innovative solutions as desired by customers and allowed by authorities."
Last year, the US House Intelligence Committee issued a letter to Huawei stating US government concerns over its connections and ties to the Chinese military and government. In the letter, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) said that the committee was "concerned" the Chinese authorities could be hacking in or attempting to breach US networks through its telecom intermediaries.
However, Huawei has adamantly maintained that it is not involved in any sort of cyberspying. Additionally, the US White House reportedly carried out a review of security risks posed by Huawei and was said to have found no evidence that the company spied on the US. But the relationship between Huawei and the US government has obviously been strained. In April, a Huawei executive said there would be no growth margin for the company in the US market in 2013. Part of this was apparently due to the US advising caution to consumers when using or purchasing Huawei equipment. By July, with new allegations of cyberspying, the company announced it was reducing its focus on the US market.
It appears that this reduction could now become even more pronounced.