Dec 242011

Per this article in the Wall Street Journal, Huawei Technologies Co. is in talks to sell video surveillance technologies to the Belarus government.

Huawei confirmed last week that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Belarus Ministry of Industry “to pursue discussions that could lead to agreements on a number of projects related to telecommunications.” The Chinese company says specific projects are unconfirmed and remain subject to formal contract negotiations.

The government of Belarus has been more specific about the talks. Huawei’s subsidiary in Belarus has been discussing the installation of a “video surveillance system with intelligent analysis,” which Huawei would set up in cooperation with a Minsk-based tech company, Belarus’s Ministry of Industry said in September.

It said the surveillance system “can be used for monitoring and protecting town centers, industrial plants or power and transport facilities, as well as important strategic assets, such as railway stations, airports or the state border of Belarus.” The ministry didn’t respond to a request to comment further.

According to the article, other companies may still bid on some of the proposed projects.   However, Huawei is also performing a year-long test of a video-surveillance system on the Belarus-Poland border, ostensibly to stop drug and human trafficking and “illegal immigration.”  Nonetheless, the article notes that the company has plans to scale back its business in Iran “as a result of what it called an ‘increasingly complex situation’ there.”

The move came after a Journal report in October that documented how the Shenzhen-based network-equipment vendor had played a role in enabling Iran’s state security network following a pullback by Western companies after the government’s bloody crackdown two years ago on its citizens.

At the time, Huawei’s chief spokesman had said the company was committed to complying with “all U.N. economic sanctions, Chinese regulations and applicable national regulations on export control” and said it believed its Iran businesses met the relevant regulations.

The article also notes that Cisco has faced criticism for having supplied technology to help China build a 500,000-camera video surveillance system.  Cisco says that it was only to supply the routing and switching components.  For its part Huawei points out that there can be productive uses for video surveillance systems such as traffic management, long-distance education and local security. “Consumer products using this technology are ubiquitous in our daily life and can be easily purchased and installed,” it said.



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