Oxford University has decided to forgo further funding from Chinese tech giant Huawei as scrutiny grows in Europe over the telecom company´s relationship with the Beijing government.
Huawei has been under fire in recent months with the arrests of a top executive in Canada and an employee in Poland, along with a worldwide campaign by Washington to blacklist its equipment.
And in the latest blow for Huawei, Oxford University said it had decided it would “not pursue new funding opportunities” for both research contracts or philanthropic donations from Huawei and related group companies — though existing projects would continue.
“We currently have two such ongoing projects, with a combined funding from Huawei of Â£692,000 ($898,000),” a university spokesman said Thursday, adding that Huawei had been informed of the decision to turn away future funding.
Oxford said it had made the decision in “light of public concerns raised in recent months surrounding UK partnerships with Huawei.”
But a Huawei spokesman said the company had not been informed and would “await the University´s full explanation.”
“We have operated in the UK since 2001, employ 1,500 people here and have long standing research collaborations with 20 other UK universities working to develop the technologies of the future,” he said.
Huawei faces unprecedented challenges to its business amid a global campaign by Washington to push nations to reconsider using the telecom giant´s equipment in their cellular networks over security concerns.
Australia and New Zealand banned its gear last year and a top British operator moved to remove its existing equipment, while concerns grow in Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and other countries.
Huawei´s reclusive founder Ren Zhengfei stepped out of the shadows this week to give a rare media interview, forcefully denying accusations that his firm engaged in espionage on behalf of the Chinese government.
The company fired the Chinese employee in Poland who was arrested on espionage allegations.
Ren´s daughter and Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained in Canada last month on US fraud charges related to Iran sanctions violations.