Huawei fights for role in Malaysia’s 5G rollout
Consideration of telecom supplier blacklisted by Washington tests Kuala Lumpur’s relations with China and the US
Huawei is battling back in the competition to build 5G networks in south-east Asia, one of the last regions where the Chinese telecoms equipment maker still retains influence after being blacklisted by Washington.The company is among those lobbying for a role in Malaysia, according to three people briefed on the situation, after the country’s new government announced a review of its predecessor’s 5G plans, including a decision to award Ericsson the tender to build a state-owned network.
“It is a mixture of soft power and outright lobbying to try to get the adoption of their systems somewhere in the rollout,” said one person briefed on the discussions.
The south-east Asian country’s 5G plans have become a test of its relations with China and the west, as well as a challenge to Kuala Lumpur’s reputation for respecting the sanctity of commercial contracts.