The Chinese telecom giant, Huawei, opened its pan-European centre for transparency and cyber-security in Brussels on Tuesday with great fanfare.
The new building is located just a stone’s throw from the European institutions and the notorious 16 rue de la Loi (the Prime Minister’s Office, also home to his team of civil servants).
Located at the intersection of Rue Guimard and Rue du Commerce, this brand new building, still not occupied, opened in the morning to around 70 European journalists.
The opening has taken place whilst the company is going through a difficult time, enduring repeated US criticism. For several months now the administration of the US President, Donald Trump, has been attempting to persuade US allies not to use Huawei equipment when implementing 5G technology, despite the company being the market leader in the sector.
The telecom giant has had to enter the media ring on several occasions in recent weeks, to defend its business decisions. The organisation claimed that opening the centre in Brussels – “a decision which was decided in 2017” – and Tuesday’s official opening, have no connection to its conflict with Washington. For all that, the presence of the new hub in the EU’s capital is likely to assist the company to improve its European image.
“Trust must have its basis in facts, those facts must be verifiable, and this verification process must be completed using universal standards,” said the President of Huawei, Ken Hu. He underlined the significance of the new centre in this regard. “We believe that ours is an effective model to build such trust during the digital era.”
In practical terms, the cyber-centre comprises an investment of “several million” euros per year by the company. The organisation will have a permanent staff of ten people, which is likely to be regularly expanded by Huawei specialists from other European countries.
Spread over two floors, the centre comprises an information area where the Huawei will set out both its security strategy and action to sector players. These may be government agencies, regulators, technical specialists and even industry associations. Huawei also intends to collaborate and communicate actively with such bodies, to improve cyber-security development.
A test and verification platform for product security and services connected with Huawei customers is also planned for installation within the centre. Telecom operators, current institutional and intended players will in particular test and verify the relevant source code (the fundamental component of any computer program) relating to Huawei equipment.