Controversial Chinese tech company Huawei pushes travel agency to boost NZ
"It is not at all unusual for large Asian tech companies to have their own travel business..."Featured comment
Controversial Chinese company Huawei Technologies, best known as a telecommunications equipment maker, has started a new sideline – bringing tourists to New Zealand.
Huawei has recently been in the news after it was banned from bidding on Australia's National Broadband Network after a federal agency raised security fears (disputed by Huawei) and a government investigation was opened into a proposed Huawei cable between Perth and Singapore.
Smartcom, a travel company owned by Huawei Technologies, has brought 33 Huawei staff and their families and are aiming to see as much of New Zealand on an eight-day trip taking in Rotorua, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Timaru, Dunedin, and Christchurch.
Although the first batch of visitors were all from Huawei, Smartcom's business was not exclusive to the company, spokesman Nicholas Wilson told NBR ONLINE.
It would promote New Zealand to other large organisations with offices in Huawei’s home city of Shenzhen, China – a city of more than 15 million people.
The first group to land in New Zealand was met by National Party MP Dr Jian Yang, who welcomed the group as they visited the Domain in downtown Auckland.
Mr Wilson says he is not privy to projections about the size of Smartcom's local push, but that a second tour group will arrive in February.
Although it has struck controversy across the Tasman (and in the US, where The New York Times said government pressure led to the dissolution of a Symantec-Huawei partnership), the New Zealand government has defended Huawei's participation in the $1.35 billion Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) rollout.