Allegations against a manager: did Huawei instigate industrial espionage?

Allegations against a manager
Did Huawei incite industrial espionage?

The allegations are huge: A manager of the Huawei group is said to have commissioned developers with industrial espionage. Several IT specialists are said to be rebuilding the software of a competitor. Particularly explosive: The order could have come directly from headquarters.

A team of developers at the Huawei research center in Munich has raised serious allegations against the Chinese group in relation to the "Welt am Sonntag" newspaper. As the newspaper reports, citing extensive correspondence available to it, a manager superior to the team is said to have commissioned the IT specialists in March 2019 to research important software from competitor Cisco and to copy it in an unauthorized manner. Accordingly, the order could have come directly from the Huawei headquarters in China.

The team members described according to "Welt am Sonntag" that they had resisted the order and asked for clarification with the legal department. However, this clarification did not take place. After the team refused to carry out the order, several of them felt the consequences. One employee's employment contract was terminated, another was demoted and a third, who worked as a freelancer, did not get a contract extension.

Huawei Germany rejected the allegations at the request of "Welt am Sonntag". The company said the process had been checked internally. It was said that neither external legal or contractual provisions nor internal guidelines were violated at any time. An infringement of intellectual property rights never took place and was never planned or intended. Huawei did not comment on the stated consequences for the employees concerned.

Huawei is one of the world's largest telecommunications equipment suppliers and a leader in 5G technology. In numerous countries, including Germany, there are concerns that Huawei technology could be a gateway for Chinese espionage or sabotage. The USA and Great Britain have therefore excluded the company from setting up their 5G networks and are putting pressure on European countries to do the same.