US’s Call For Huawei Ban Is A PR Boon For The Chinese Firm, Say Experts

According to Public Relations experts, Chinese tech company Huawei is in fact benefitting from the extensive and global coverage that the company is getting because of the call of the United States to ban the company and its urging of the its allies to do the same.

The US fears that the telecom equipment supplied by the company could be used for spying o n Western countries by Chinese agencies because of the alleged closeness of the company with authorities in China,

The experts claim that all the discussions about Huawei could also have possible cemented the firm’s position as the global leader in telecommunication equipment manufacturing and as a leading global tech company. .

“The [media] coverage, seemingly negative by connecting Huawei to security risks, to some extent acknowledges Huawei as a leading global player in 5G technology,” Andy Wong, associate dean of the business school at Chinese University of Hong Kong said in a interview with a newspaper. “There’s a chance that Huawei can turn the crisis into an opportunity.”

The US was thanked for “promoting” Huawei by the 74 year old founder and chairman of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, in a very recent TV appearance as part of Huawei’s ongoing PR campaign. He also described the leaders in the Trump administration to be “great figures”.

“5G was not known by common people. But now, these great figures are all talking about 5G… And we’re becoming more influential and getting more contracts,” Ren said in an interview with CBS on Thursday.

In order to pressurize some of its allies on the issue of not using Huawei, the US has even resorted to threats with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying last Thursday that the US would not collaborate with any country that allows Huawei into their 5G networks.

According to Richard Hillgrove, London-based founder of 6 Hillgrove Public Relations, a “charm offensive” branding strategy is being used by Huawei to make its name desirable. He added that the Chinese firm is also gaining PR traction because it is using a clever tactic of making such comparison that are resonating with audience in the West.

For example, the company compared its banning from 5G network to be similar to playing “English Premier League without Manchester United”. This comment was made by Ryan Ding, the head of Huawei’s carrier business group, in London last week while answering questions about British concerns over its 5G network equipment. There is yet any conclusive decision to be made by the UK government about whether or not to use Huawei for its 5G networks.

“[Huawei] must continue to handle security fears by appearing totally transparent to lawmakers worldwide and do whatever it takes to achieve this,” Hillgrove added.

A Twitter account called #Huaweifacts, which it calls “the official authority on truth and facts about Huawei”, has been opened by Huawei as a part of its PR campaign. The account description reads: “We are the light that cuts through the shroud of allegations and assumptions about Huawei.” There are over 3300 followers of the account.

“Huawei, in general, is more cool headed in dealing with recent controversies,” said Zhang Haizhou, a Hong Kong-based consultant for Swedish communications firm Kreab. The company has consistently tried to showcase its own confidence in its equipment and technology by giving reiterating them in media interviews and thereby has been able to be consistent in its global communications, he said.

“It’s a proper public relations or communications strategy that would help Huawei, not bad press,” he said.

(Adapted from SCM.com)

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