There are two major Chinese smartphone companies: ZTE and Huawei. Both of them are big in Asia and Europe, and both of them are not allowed in the USA.
This is because the Department of Defense says they are concerned that those smartphones could be used for Chinese espionage. Both companies strongly deny any allegiance to the Chinese government.
At the Mobile World Congress being currently being held in Barcelona, a reporter from the British Broadcasting service sat down with Huawei CEO Mr Richard Yu to ask what he thought of the US blockade against his company.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">BBC Technology: Huawei: US scared we are too competitive <a href="https://t.co/02moc2YUBq">https://t.co/02moc2YUBq</a></p>— HammerSoft (@Hammer_Soft) <a href="https://twitter.com/Hammer_Soft/status/968437619662245888?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 27, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Interviewer: “Now, one of the problems … is trying to get into the US market. You’re nowhere in the US market because American politicians do not trust you. Why do you think that is?”
Mr Yu: “Because some guys use this political thing to try and keep us out. Because we are too competitive. We have leading technology, leading innovations, so they worry about that. We are too strong.”
Interviewer: “Is that why American politicians want to keep you out? Because you are too competitive or is it because they worry you are too close to the Chinese government?”
Mr Yu: “They are trying to say that but actually we are an independent company.”
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Some state that the claim of ZTE and Huawei possible being used for spying on behalf of the Chinese government is not that far-fetched though.
In fact, ZTE agreed to pay some $892 million to the U.S. government as part of a settlement of claims that it violated sanctions on Iran last year
Even though this wasn't necessarily a cyber-security issue, attorney general Mr Jeff Sessions claimed that it was done "to keep sensitive American technology out of the hands of hostile regimes like Iran’s."