Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Chinese tech company Huawei and deputy chairwoman of the company's board, has been arrested in Vancouver and faces extradition to the U.S., reports CNN.
Wanzhou, who also goes by Sabrina Meng or Cathy Meng and is the daughter of Huawei's founder, Ren Zhengfei, was apprehended on December 1. She was detained by Canadian authorities, on behalf of the U.S., when she was transferring flights in Canada. A bail hearing set for Friday, December 7.
The Canadian Justice Department isn't providing more details, as Meng was granted a publication ban. But CNN notes that the US Justice Department proceeded with the arrest as "part of an ongoing investigation."
She faces unspecified charges in the Eastern District of New York. Back in April, The Wall Street Journal reported that Huawei was being investigated for potentially violating US sanctions on Iran.
"Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US, and EU," said a company spokesperson. The company believes that the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will "ultimately reach a just conclusion."
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in China has called for Meng to be released, and is looking for an explanation as to why she has been detained.
According to CNN, the U.S. believes that the Chinese government could be using Huawei's technology to spy on Americans. Huawei has gained massive marketshare in the smartphone business in North America over the last year. In the second quarter of 2018, Huawei surpassed Apple for the second spot in the global smartphone space, according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. In Canada specifically, Huawei ranked fourth, behind Apple, Samsung, and LG, says IDC Canada, overtaking TCL with 3.8% share. Most jarring, however, is that Huawei experienced the highest year-over-year growth of all top five vendors, at an impressive 55.2%.
The company's devices are available through all major Canadian carriers, and have been heavily lauded among customers and journalists. Most notably, the new Mate 20 Pro, which launched in October, has been well-received for its great camera and photography features, and useful functions like reverse charging, which lets you lay another device on top of the phone to recharge it.
Several countries have taken steps to prevent Huawei telecommunications equipment from being used in their moves to 5G, including the U.S., New Zealand, Australia, and, most recently, the UK, with many citing "network security risks." Earlier this week, UK telecoms group BT (BT) said it would not buy equipment from Huawei for its next-generation 5G network, and would remove Huawei technology from its 4G network within the next two years. Another Chinese telecom brand, ZTE, has faced scrutiny as well. Canada has not yet made moves away from Huawei with regards to our 5G technology.
It's unclear how this situation will impact relations between Canada and China. David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, calls Meng "by birth and position a member of China's corporate royalty."
Stay tuned for more details as they become available.