Is good trade with China more important than keeping Huawei out of the 5G network?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
July 08, 2020, 2:26 PM UTC

Despite a stark warning from the Ambassador, only 16% think Huawei should have a role in the UK 5G network to maintain good trade with China

The Chinese Ambassador to the UK, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming, has said the UK will “have to bear the consequences” and that trade could suffer if Huawei is removed from the UK 5G Network – but it seems that Brits aren’t falling for the scare tactics.

Huawei’s involvement in the UK 5G network has been a point of contention between the UK and US due to cyber security concerns and the alleged theft of intellectual property. The Chinese company’s involvement has been under review by the National Cyber Security Centre – and an announcement on whether Huawei 5G technology that has already been installed will be removed is expected within weeks from Number 10.

Banning Huawei from the network would “send a very bad message to other Chinese businesses” the Ambassador said at a press briefing on Monday. Following the Ambassadors comments, YouGov asked adults what was more important: allowing Huawei to keep its role and protect trade with China, or ban it from the network at the risk of future trade with the country.

Overall, half (52%) of British adults think we should keep Huawei out of the 5G network, even if that puts trade at risk.

Among voters, Conservatives are most willing to risk trade with China to keep Huawei out of the 5G network in the UK (69%) compared to 47% and 48% of Labour and Liberal Democrat voters respectively.

Despite the stark warning from the Ambassador, only 16% think Huawei should have a role in the UK 5G network to maintain good trade with China, however among Brits aged 18 to 24 this rises to 32%.

Interestingly, Remain voters (20%) are twice as likely as Leave voters (9%) to think we should allow Huawei to remain in the network to maintain good trade with China.

Britons have long been sceptical of the Chinese tech giant however. Our research has previously shown that trust in Huawei as a brand is extremely low, with just 10% of Brits describing Huawei as a brand they would trust last year. Our research among MP’s also showed that 62% agreed Huawei should be trusted in any strategically sensitive UK infrastructure.

See full results here