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Huawei holds 5G lab launch event in Seoul with minimal fanfare

Chinese tech giant Huawei’s event to promote its fifth-generation cellular network to South Korean customers this week remained low-key, with participation centered around smaller companies.

Huawei on Thursday held the celebration for the launch of its world’s first 5G open lab in Junggu, central Seoul. The company had decided to proceed with the ceremony despite the US pressure on its business in South Korea. 

While SK Telecom and KT said they did not send their employees to the launching ceremony, LG Uplus -- the only Korean company that uses Huawei equipment for 5G network -- said one official attended for observation.

“We haven’t received any official requests from Huawei to attend the event,” said an official from a local mobile carrier, who asked to be anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue. “Quite frankly, we were relieved by that.” 

Huawei logo.
Huawei logo.

Huawei Korea said that telecom giants’ absence stems from the fact the event was exclusively designed for small and medium-sized enterprises who are seeking to enhance their partnership with the Chinese company.

While Huawei said various business representatives and small mobile carriers participated in the event, it declined to reveal their names. The media was also not invited to cover the event that was attended by Meng Shaoyun, a head of Huawei Korea, and other senior Huawei officials.

“After hearing some small businesses suffered from the latest controversy (involving Huawei), we decided not to hold a media event,” said a Huawei Korea spokesperson. “It’s exaggerated to say that we scaled down the event substantially. The only thing canceled was a media event.”

According to Huawei, the participants stressed the importance of partnership between the Chinese company and Korean small businesses. The company said it would invest about $5 million in running 5G open lab in Seoul.


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