The West is worried about Malaysia and 5G


Briefly: European and US officials are reportedly worried Malaysia could include China’s telecoms giant Huawei in its 5G infrastructure rollout.

Swedish firm Ericsson won the $2.5B tender to build Malaysia’s 5G network in 2021, but Malaysian officials recently decided to review the decision. And that’s got the West sweating like a balloon seller at a jousting tournament.

What’s the West’s issue with Huawei?

  • 📡 The nature of the tech makes securing 5G more difficult
  • 👬 Huawei reportedly has close ties with China’s military and intel
  • 📖 A 2017 law in China requires firms to cooperate with Beijing, and
  • 💻 China has allegedly used Huawei kit to conduct espionage already

So Huawei is now effectively blacklisted across much of the West.

For its part, Huawei says the West is just using national security as a fig leaf to protect its firms from foreign competition. Huawei’s been lobbying hard for a piece of the Malaysian pie, and Kuala Lumpur’s surprise review suggests it may be working.

Intrigue’s take: Being caught in the middle of a game of great powers is never fun, but it’s particularly annoying when it threatens your download speed.

So, like many others, Malaysia is now having to make a call: keep China happy (involve Huawei) or keep the West happy (exclude Huawei). The nature of 5G tech – and US-China relations – suggests there’s no easy middle ground here.

Also worth noting:

  • The EU has around €25B invested in Malaysia. Malaysia’s prime minister says China recently made a single pledge to invest $39B.
  • Huawei controls 20% of the telco equipment market outside China. Swedish firm Ericsson and Finnish firm Nokia each have an 18% share.
Latest Author Articles
Youtube blocks protest song in Hong Kong after court order

US-based video platform YouTube has geo-blocked a protest song in Hong Kong following a court order.

16 May, 2024
China looks to ultralong bonds and beyond to revive its economy

China’s Ministry of Finance confirmed yesterday (Monday) China’s latest move to boost the world’s second-largest economy: the sale of $140B in ultra-long bonds. It delivers on a commitment Premier Li Qiang made in March.

14 May, 2024
TikTok sues the US government

TikTok and its China-based parent company ByteDance have filed a lawsuit against the US government – it’s an attempt to block a divest-or-ban order that could spell the end of the social media giant’s presence in the US. 

9 May, 2024
The OECD is cautiously optimistic

Today we’re doing what we do best: wading through 200-something pages of turgid prose and acronyms to get you what you need to know.

3 May, 2024