Huawei UK ban is a blow for its ambitions

BT, Vodafone, Three and Huawei itself will keep fighting their corner all the way.

Meanwhile, Huawei – whose growth was fuelled by cheap loans from Chinese state-backed lenders and subsidised land deals – will be hoping for a shift in the political weather.

Above all, it was the US pressure and sanctions on Huawei which blocked its access to critical chips and other technology, which prompted today’s announcement.

Will Donald Trump be kicked out in November? And if so, will an administration led by Joe Biden seek a detente with China which could ease up international pressure and sanctions against the company? It’s certainly possible.

Moreover, the longer the strip-out continues, the more chance Huawei and its customers will have to persuade a new UK administration to moderate its stance.

Meanwhile, Huawei itself has no intention of vanishing from the UK.

While its ambitions in network gear – its core business – have been seriously damaged, it remains a major player in consumer devices with a 10pc share of the UK smartphone market and 17.8pc share globally.

Its laptops, tablets, smart watches and Internet routers remain popular choices on Amazon UK.

Nor does Huawei have any plans to retreat from its research operations in the UK – including  a new 1bn pound optoelectronics facility in Cambridge, one of Britain’s leading technology hubs. 

The scheme was approved by local planning authorities last month.

If the UK government is really serious about pushing Huawei out of the UK entirely, it has much further to go.

First it must act swiftly and decisively to build an alternative, US-backed supplier with technology of the same calibre.

Second, it must urgently find ways to ensure the UK economy does not suffer from the delayed rollout of 5G.

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