BLACKLISTED: Huawei’s distributor in Taiwan must explain whether its customers can receive updates for the Google Play Store and Android operating system, the NCC said
By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter
Huawei Taiwan should reveal information about how it plans to protect its smartphone users in Taiwan after Alphabet Inc’s Google stopped providing Huawei Technologies Co （華為） with vital software updates, the National Communications Commission （NCC） said yesterday.
Google on Monday said that it has blocked the Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer from updates to some of its smartphone applications, such as YouTube and Google Maps, after US President Donald Trump’s administration on Thursday last week added Huawei to a trade blacklist, banning US firms from selling components and software to it due to national security concerns.
The US Department of Commerce gave US companies conducting business with Huawei a 90-day reprieve before the ban takes effect.
The commission on Tuesday met with representatives from Xunwei Technologies Co （訊崴技術） — Huawei’s exclusive distributor in Taiwan — to discuss potential issues that might arise from the US ban, NCC Department of Frequency and Resources Director Chen Chung-shu （陳崇樹） said.
“We focused on what Huawei has planned to do to protect the interests of its smartphone users. As the partnership between Google and Huawei is an issue that is ongoing, we hope that Xunwei will confirm details about the partnership with its headquarters and make that information public on its official Web site, as well as on its Facebook page,” Chen said, adding that Xunwei has pledged to update consumer-related information on its online sites.
Chen said that Xunwei should tell consumers whether they would be able to receive updates for the Google Play Store, the Android operating system and apps for Android devices, even though Huawei had said that the ban would not affect devices that are in use.
Xunwei must also inform its customers about returning their devices, Chen said.
As the nation’s telecom carriers have bundled Huawei smartphones with some of their service plans, Xunwei should also determine solutions to problems that might arise from this, Chen added.
Consumers must have adequate information available to them to make a choice, Chen said, adding that the principle applies equally to the company’s handling of new smartphones and devices that have already been sold.
The commission does not exclude the possibility of inviting representatives from Google Taiwan to provide additional clarification, Chen added.
The US government is reportedly also planning to blacklist Hangzhou-based Hikvision Digital Technology （海康威視）, the world’s largest supplier of video surveillance products.
Asked if the government has a similar plan, NCC acting spokesperson Hsiao Chi-hung （蕭啟宏） said that the Executive Yuan is compiling a list of communication devices that would be banned in Taiwan, adding that it expects to make a final announcement after it has collected recommendations from government agencies.
The nation has already banned telecom carriers from using core network equipment manufactured by Huawei.
Xunwei issued an official statement on Facebook, saying that Huawei has made important contributions to the development of the Android operating system, which is open source software, and its ecosystem of applications.
“We will continue developing the Android system in a way that benefits users and the industry,” Xunwei said.
“Safety upgrades and post-sale services for our smartphones and tablet computers will continue to be available for our users around the globe,” the company added.
A security guard keeps watch from under a Huawei Technologies Co umbrella at the company’s Shanghai Research Center in China yesterday. Photo: Reuters