Huawei exec's arrest sends shudders through stock markets

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"Americans are grateful that our Canadian partners have arrested the Chief Financial Officer of a giant Chinese telecom company for breaking USA sanctions against Iran", he said.

'China has already made solemn representations to the United States and Canada, demanding they immediately correct their wrong behavior and restore Ms Meng Wanzhou's freedom'.

Canada's Justice Department says the United States is seeking Meng's extradition, but is not providing further details about the case because of a court-ordered publication ban on her pending bail hearing.

"As there is a publication ban in effect, we can not provide any further detail at this time", department spokesperson Ian McLeod said in a statement to the newspaper.

When news broke on Thursday (Dec 6) that a top Huawei executive has been arrested in Canada, Ms Meng Wanzhou became one of the most talked-about persons in online chatter and social media chat groups. The U.S. Justice Department has refused comment.

The Chinese embassy in Canada responded to news of Meng's arrest by lodging stern representations against the USA and Canadian governments and calling for her immediate release.

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Despite being essentially barred from the critical United States market, Huawei surpassed Apple to become the world's number two smartphone maker in the second quarter of this year and has market leader Samsung in its sights. Chinese technology has been a particular bugbear for the US president, who has justified imposing tariffs on Chinese imports with allegations of intellectual property theft by Chinese companies. Meng was detained in Vancouver but is facing potential extradition to the US, which had earlier opened an investigation into whether Huawei sold equipment to Iran despite sanctions on exporting there.

Huawei, now China's largest technology company by employees, with more than 180,000 staff and revenue of $93 billion in 2017, started off selling digital telephone switches in the 1990s. The US has long suspected Huawei of involvement in Iranian sanctions violations and launched a criminal probe in April. It surpassed Apple in smartphone sales in the second quarter of this year, leaving it behind only market leader Samsung. "Targeting Huawei through seeking the extradition of a top executive is a major move by the USA government, whether coordinated or not".

Huawei derives around half of its revenue from supplying equipment to telecoms carriers around the world.

That means the USA has less leverage over Huawei than over ZTE and some other Chinese companies. Huawei has denied the links.

The arrest of a Chinese telecom executive in Vancouver is renewing fears of the communist government's ties to the cellular network giant. New Zealand followed suit in November, but said the issue was a technological one.

Nevertheless, Huawei is allowed to operate in Canada and in a September interview with the Globe and Mail, Scott Jones, head of Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, said Ottawa is confident sufficient safeguards exist to deal with the risks of telecommunications hacking or spying by China.

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