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Huawei launches UK advertising blitz ahead of security review

LONDON (Reuters) - China’s Huawei Technologies has launched a British advertising blitz to highlight its role in building the country’s broadband and mobile networks ahead of a UK security review that could see further restrictions on its activities.

FILE PHOTO: A Huawei logo is seen on a device at a media event in London, Britain, February 18, 2020. Picture taken February 18, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Vice President Victor Zhang said Huawei had been in Britain for 20 years, during which time it had helped build the 3G and 4G mobile networks, and was committed to continuing to develop the connectivity the country needs.

“As a private company, 100% owned by employees, our priority has been to help mobile and broadband companies build a better connected UK,” he said on Monday.

“Britain needs the best possible technologies, more choice, innovation and more suppliers, all of which means more secure and more resilient networks.”

The ads will run in national newspapers, business publications and online for three to four weeks.

Britain designated Huawei a “high-risk vendor” in January, capping its 5G involvement at 35% and excluding it from the data-heavy core of the network.

But pressure on the Prime Minister Boris Johnson from the United States and lawmakers in his own party has continued unabated. They say Huawei’s equipment could be used by Beijing for spying. Huawei has repeatedly denied the allegations.

The United States has tightened sanctions on Huawei, limiting its ability to produce the microchips needed for its equipment.

British security officials are examining the impact of the new sanctions, and newspaper reports say they could recommend Huawei’s involvement is reduced to zero over time.

Zhang said he strongly opposed the U.S. move, adding that the decision would damage the semiconductor industry’s global supply chain.

“We are working closely with our partners and supplier to take a full and comprehensive examination of these new laws, and will discuss with customers and the government the next steps,” he told reporters.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Stephen Addison

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