RUG in talks with Huawei

The RUG has entered into talks with the Chinese telecommunication company Huawei regarding the implementation of the IT network at the future campus in Yantai. However, various countries have flagged the company as a security hazard.
By Peter Keizer and Traci White / Translation by Alain Renier

Representatives of the Chinese companies visited the Yantai campus and RUG network experts have visited the Huawei head office in Shenzhen to discuss the designs of the IT environment.

‘Huawei is a major player in China and we are currently entering into talks regarding a partnership with them,’ Louwarnoud van der Duim confirms on behalf of the RUG Center for Information Techology (CIT). The role that the Chinese telecommunications company will play in this partnership still is unclear.

 

According to a travel report Van der Duim wrote for Pictogram, the university’s IT magazine, the RUG primarily discussed facilities for wireless internet, data centres, servers and cloud products with Huawei. The company, which has an annual turnover of more than 60 billion dollars, is also interested in an academic partnership, Van der Duim writes. ‘And creating internship positions for students is something they’re already doing with other universities as well. We will make agreements in this context at the right levels.’

Espionage

Four years ago, the Chinese company was compromised after the American government accused the company of espionage. According to the Americans, Huawei built back doors for the Chinese government into their network equipment. The Chinese would be able to spy on the Americans using these back doors.

However, the American government could not produce evidence and Huawei denied the espionage accusations. Documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden later revealed the espionage accusations. Apart from America, Australia also views the Chinese Huawei as a threat to security.

The RUG is unwilling to discuss these allegations. ‘We will set the same requirements to suppliers in China that we set to suppliers here in Groningen. No decision regarding a partnership with Huawei has been made, but we’ve entered into talks,’ Van der Duim states.

According to an IT analyst at Duke Kunshan University, one of several American universities with a campus in China, their network was installed by China Telecom. The UK has reached out to other branch campuses of American and British universities in China about their telecom providers.

Costs

The RUG is unwilling to discuss these allegations. ‘We will set the same requirements to suppliers in China that we set to suppliers here in Groningen. No decision regarding a partnership with Huawei has been made, but we’ve entered into talks,’ Van der Duim states.
According to an IT analyst at Duke Kunshan University, one of several American universities with a campus in China, their network was installed by China Telecom. The UK has reached out to other branch campuses of American and British universities in China about their telecom providers.

In the past, Huawei installed the network for the Newcastle University.

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