GN CHINA - Huawei’s chief executive has proposed selling its current 5G know-how to a Western firm as a way to address security concerns voiced by the US and others about its business.

Ren Zhengfei said the buyer would be free to “change the software code”. That would allow any flaws or supposed backdoors to be addressed without Huawei’s involvement. The US and Australia have banned their networks from using Huawei’s equipment. The UK is still weighing a decision.

Huawei has repeatedly denied claims that it would help the Chinese government spy on or disrupt other countries telecoms systems, and says it is a private enterprise owned by its workers. One expert, who had previously cast doubts on Huawei’s claims to independence, said the idea of it helping another country’s business to compete represented an “extraordinary offer”.

“Perhaps the explanation is that Huawei recognises that it is unlikely to be able to bypass the efforts the Trump administration is putting into minimising its scope to operate in North America, Western Europe and Australasia,” said Prof Steve Tsang from University College London’s Soas China Institute.

“But it’s difficult to see Nokia or Ericsson being interested in buying it. And it’s also difficult to see how an American company would be able to reassure the Trump administration that it’s absolutely top notch American technology.

“And if they can’t do that, why would they want to spend tens of billions of US dollars on something that will quickly become out-of-date.”