George Osborne welcomes Huawei's UK involvement

George Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne has hit out at western governments that shy away from letting Chinese firms get involved with building out their critical infrastructure networks.

In particular, he singled out Chinese telecommunications vendor Huawei as an example of the type of firm he thinks more western countries should be open to doing business with.

There are some Western governments that have blocked Huawei from making investments. Not Britain. Quite the opposite.

"Some nations wouldn't want Chinese investment in critical infrastructure like water and airports. We welcome it," said Osborne.

"There are some Western governments that have blocked Huawei from making investments. Not Britain. Quite the opposite," he added.

Osborne, who is in China on a five-day trade trip, made the comments during a speech to students at Peking University earlier today.

His words may come as a surprise to many, given the Intelligence and Security Committee's recent report into Huawei's involvement in building out the UK's critical national infrastructure.

The report centred on Huawei's 2005 supplier deal with telco giant BT, which the authors claimed should have been closely scrutinised by Government ministers before being given the go ahead.

This was partly related to allegations about Huawei's close links to the Chinese state, which the company has always strenuously denied, and the potential impact this could have on the UK's national security.

During his speech, he repeatedly emphasised how important collaborating with China, in a business context, is to the future of the UK economy.

"One of my tasks this week is to explain to the British people just how far China has come, how sophisticated your businesses are, and how advanced you are in the fields of high tech and science," he said."

The Chinese technology market was cited by Osborne as an example of an area where the two nations can pool their resources for the benefit of both.

"For those in the West who still harbour outdated views of the Chinese economy as the home only of low cost, low quality manufacturing, I say come to see the new giants of the internet age...born in China, nurtured in China and ready now to expand across the world," he said.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.