US security expert admits China has won the 5G race

26 Sep 2019

Image: © H-J Walther/

A former US secretary of Homeland Security said that Huawei’s global dominance in the 5G sphere has created challenges for the US.

US security experts may be conceding that China has won the race to lead the 5G infrastructure market globally.

Tom Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania and former US secretary of Homeland Security who went on to found cybersecurity company Ridge Global, noted in a conference call organised by Global Cyber Policy Watch that the global dominance of Chinese telecom Huawei has presented some challenges to US officials in the development of its own network.

“To embed that technology into a critical piece of infrastructure, which is telecom, is a huge national security risk,” he said.

Ridge argued that China’s dominance is problematic when considering how critical new telecoms technologies will be in both private and public sectors. He warned that bringing in Chinese technology could open the US up to direct foreign espionage by the Chinese government as well as the theft of state secrets, both of which could effect the way the US government shares intelligence information with allied nations.

Entity ban

The US government recently placed Huawei on an ‘entity ban’ list which effectively bars US companies from working with the Chinese telecoms firm. This was done, according to government officials, in response to the security threat posed by the company to the US.

The US has also campaigned for its allies to cut ties with Huawei, citing espionage concerns. Some nations, such as Estonia and Australia, have already voted to limit their use of Huawei 5G technology.

In what was recently described as “an olive branch to the West”, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfai told The Economist that he is considering selling the company’s 5G technology to another firm outside of Asia.

A buyer would, in a one-off transaction, gain access to Huawei’s portfolio of 5G patents, licenses, code, technical blueprints and more.

The aim, Zhengfai said, is to create a rival firm that could compete with Huawei and allay fears of China becoming the dominant market force.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic