TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan is mulling an expansion of its five-year-old ban on network equipment produced by Chinese companies Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp. amid security concerns.
Officials sought over the weekend to reassure lawmakers and the public that such measures have been effective and the threat to the communications sector is minimal.
On Monday, legislators called for extending the ban on Huawei to the financial industry, where it has reportedly sought business providing digital finance services.
Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Wellington Koo was quoted by local media as saying the government would consider such a move based on provisions under Taiwanese law and World Trade Organization rules.
Most Taiwanese banks use components made by IBM in their servers and Huawei doesn't have a high market share in terms of such equipment," he was quoted as saying by the newspaper Taipei Times.
The commission itself does not use any Chinese-made cybersecurity equipment, Koo said.
Huawei, based in southern China's Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, is the world's largest supplier of network gear. ZTE is one of its rivals
Huawei has established a presence in Taiwan, with its handsets among the top sellers. The company also sponsors a Christmas extravaganza in a Taipei suburb that features a giant Santa emblazoned with Huawei's logo.
While several countries have similar bans in place, the risk for Taiwan is potentially greater since China claims the island as its own territory and threatens to use military force to bring it under its control. Back-doors that some allege Huawei has built into its products could give Beijing access to military and economic secrets or even to disable crucial infrastructure in the event of a conflict.
Taiwan has already accused China of meddling in last month's local elections by spreading false news online.