What happened: Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei could face charges over the theft of trade secrets in a new investigation. US federal authorities in Seattle are pursuing charges against Huawei for allegedly stealing trade secrets from US business partners. The secrets include a T-Mobile robotic device called “Tappy,” which is used in testing smartphones. In a 2014 filing, T-Mobile claimed that Huawei employees stole the trade secrets for the company’s research and development in China. The investigation is reportedly at an advanced stage, and an indictment could come soon.
Why it’s important: The probe against Huawei comes at a time of tension between China and the US, and concern that Chinese-made telecom equipment could be compromised has been rising. In a rare roundtable with international media in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen on Tuesday, Ren Zhengfei, founder and CEO of the company, said Huawei never spied for China. He also praised US President Donald Trump and his efforts at forging a new trade deal with China, while underscoring the negative impact “the detention of certain individuals” could have on Sino-US relations. Last month, Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested and later released on bail in Vancouver for alleged violation of Iran sanctions. Meng is also Ren’s daughter.