It is widely known that Huawei’s founder Ren is an ex-People’s Liberation Army officer. While some view that fact alone as sufficient evidence to suspect a clear link between Huawei and the PLA, a larger question is who really "owns" Huawei. The company claims to be employee-owned.
A friend working for a Beijing semiconductor company explained to me over lunch: “Huawei hasn’t been able to go public because their financial book is such a mess.” We haven't been able to confirm that, but looming large is Huawei’s lack of transparency.
Since much of the evidence in the House Intelligence Committee's report on Huawei and ZTE is classified, it’s hard to blame the Chinese media for alleging U.S. protectionism. Still, it's not unreasonable for the U.S. to remain cautious. After all, as concerns mount about cyber warfare, why should you go out of your way to do business with companies who aren't even listed on the New York or London stock exchanges?
Wouldn't you rather work with a public company, especially on big telecom equipment deals for next-generation networks?
Huawei has hired a slick U.S. spokesman to defend its reputation, but going public would do more to solve some of Huawei's transparency problems.