In February 2019, New Zealand became one of the growing number of countries to issue a ban on China’s 5G wireless communication technology giant, Huawei.
This has put a strain on China-New Zealand relations, with the Chinese populace purportedly ‘punishing’ New Zealand by putting the island in an unfavorable light for travel destinations.
China-based Huawei has been a fast-growing telecom equipment company, beating the likes of Nokia and Ericsson in the race for global connectivity, and even paving the way for new-generation mobile technology. Unfortunately, their exponential growth has been met with criticism, the harshest being from the USA—accusing Huawei of possessing ‘spy technology’ and putting national security at risk.
While evidence on these claims have yet to be solidified, relations with China have noticeably been strained.
Since then, major projects between the two nations such as the New Zealand-China Year of Tourism had faced slight delay in launching, and continues to be plagued by unfavorable rumours. Chinese tourists have revoked travel plans to NZ, and New Zealand imports to China have been treated frostily, despite having previously established a long-term relationship.
New Zealand’s tourism and trade industry is under threat in facing significant loss, should the unwavering support of Chinese nationals continue in solidarity for Huawei.
Many have cited the strain to be influenced by the belief that the US is exerting pressure in the form of an alliance with the other Five Eyes intelligence-sharing pact. Huawei’s connection to the Chinese government also sparks worry as China’s mass surveillance system continues to reach new technological heights.
Whatever the case, Huawei remains a powerful profit-based business with the biggest advantage in the communications industry, and has a strong user base around the world. The effects of the US-China trade war is continuously hitting all new lows, and it is feared that diplomatic relations face unfounded tension.