Australia is shutting China's Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. out of the largest infrastructure program in the country's history. Citing national security concerns, the Australian government says it won't allow Huawei to bid for any part of a $38 billion telecommunication project "intended to connect 93 percent of homes and workplaces with fiber-optic cable, providing broadband service in urban and rural areas," the New York Times reported.
Ouch! Huawei said it wanted to submit a bid for about $1 billion (for part of the project) but was promptly informed it would not be allowed to participate.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard confirmed the decision. "You would expect as a government that we make all of the prudent decisions to make sure that the infrastructure project does what we want it to do, and we've taken one of those decisions," she said.
Apparently, Huawei's close connection with China's military got the Aussies thinking they wouldn't like to have the Red Army infiltrate their brand new network via a Trojan implantation by an entity many consider a surrogate for (or at least heavily indebted to) the Chinese government. Huawei insists it's an independent enterprise operating above board, but some countries don't seem to believe it.
A former Australian foreign minister quoted in the NYT criticized his country's decision. A few other countries -- not including the United States, the UK, Germany, or any of the major Western powers -- have allowed Huawei to bid on contracts for similar projects.
What else can Huawei do to win Western governments' trust?