(Reuters) – Huawei Technologies Co employees worked on at least 10 research projects with Chinese armed forces personnel over the past decade, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, collaborations the Chinese company said it was not aware of.
Huawei workers teamed up with members of various organs of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in projects spanning artificial intelligence to radio communications, Bloomberg said .
“Huawei is not aware of its employees publishing research papers in their individual capacity,” Huawei spokesman Joe Kelly told Reuters, adding the company does not have any research and development collaboration or partnerships with PLA-affiliated institutions.
“Huawei only develops and produces communications products that conform to civil standards worldwide, and does not customize R&D products for the military.”
Huawei has come under mounting scrutiny for over a year, led by U.S. allegations that “back doors” in its routers, switches and other gear could allow China to spy on U.S. communications.
The company has denied its products pose a security threat.
The U.S. government last month effectively banned its agencies from buying Huawei telecommunications equipment and put severe restrictions on U.S. firms doing business with Huawei.
The research projects are part of a few publicly disclosed studies, Bloomberg said, adding it culled the papers from published periodicals and online research databases used mainly by Chinese academics and industry specialists.
China’s defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang told Reuters the ministry does not comment on academic research.
“As everyone knows, Huawei is a private company that has developed on its own. There is no so-called Chinese military background,” he said.
(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru, Sijia Jiang in Hong Kong, Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Himani Sarkar)