Huawei loses Swedish appeal over 5G ban

A Swedish court on Wednesday rejected an appeal from China's Huawei over the government's decision to ban the network equipment giant from the rollout of 5G mobile network infrastructure in the Nordic country.

A technician stands at the entrance to a Huawei 5G data center at the Guangdong Second Provincial General Hospital in Guangzhou, in southern China's Guangdong province, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. The hospital in southern China's Guangdong Province is using 5G and IoT technologies to collect, transmit and monitor more data in real time, allowing healthcare workers to provide better medical service for patients. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) XHG208
In 2020, Sweden banned network operators from using Huawei equipment in the buildup of 5G infrastructure. Photo: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

The administrative court of appeal in Stockholm said in a statement it believed it was fair to assume that the use of Huawei’s products in central functions of the 5G network “can cause harm to Sweden’s security.”

After the UK in the summer of 2020, Sweden became the second country in Europe and the first in the EU to explicitly ban Huawei from almost all of the network infrastructure needed to run its 5G mobile network.

Beijing warned at the time that the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority’s (PTS) decision could have “consequences” for the Scandinavian country’s companies in China, prompting Swedish telecom giant and Huawei competitor Ericsson to worry about retaliatory measures.

The PTS’ decision also included a provision that equipment already installed had to be removed by January 1, 2025, which the appeals court also confirmed.

“Sweden’s security is a particularly strong interest and the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority’s decision is based on a real, current and sufficiently serious threat to Sweden’s security,” judge Anita Linder said in a statement.

Huawei first appealed the decision to a lower court which also sided with the PTS in June 2021.

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India among top investment destinations for Swedish companies

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and India are the top investment destinations for Swedish companies, meaning that businesses are planning on increasing their investments in these markets over the next 12 months.

India among top investment destinations for Swedish companies

“The stars are aligned for India. They have got a lot of internal investment programmes started, have acquired internal stability and managed to navigate the geopolitical situation in such a way that no one has any doubts any longer,” said Business Sweden CEO Jan Larsson.

Swedish businesses are in general less optimistic than last year about the global business scene, due to a struggling European economy and escalating trade wars between the US and China, according to a new Global Business Climate Survey 2024 by Business Sweden.

Despite this, many of the 24 countries in the report maintained a generally positive outlook, with scores over 3 on a 5-point scale, where 1 equals very poor and 5 very good. 

Overall, just six percent of respondents perceived the business climate as very good, 31 percent as good, 45 percent as neutral, 15 percent as poor and 2 percent as very poor.

There are also some markets where sentiment has improved slightly since last year: Brazil, South Africa, South Korea, the UK and Spain. 

At the other end of the scale, interest in investing in giant markets such as China and Germany appears to be on the wane, along with Taiwan and Mexico.

“Doing business in Germany comes with a lot of administrative work compared to Sweden, which is time consuming and costly,” EWAB Engineering GmbH managing director Fredrik Almcrantz said in the report. “Digitalisation doesn’t replace paperwork related to compliance with rules and regulations, it is just an added layer on top of traditional routines.”

Almost a third (65 percent) of Swedish businesses surveyed expect revenue to grow and plan to increase their global investments in the year ahead. A clear majority (70 percent) of companies were profitable last year, while 12 percent reached break-even and 13 percent reported negative results.

The Netherlands and France had the highest percentage of profitable Swedish companies, while the highest share of companies making a loss were reported in South Korea and Germany.

India, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia are among the countries on the list identified as having the most favourable business climates for Swedish companies, while Germany, Mexico and the Netherlands were rated lowest on the list.

India, Brazil and Indonesia also had the highest share of companies saying that the Swedish brand contributes “to an extent or great extent” to their success in those markets. At the other end of the scale were the United States, Canada and Saudi Arabia.

“In the Indonesian market, Swedish products are generally considered to be high quality, robust and durable,” said M. Syahrul Mohideen, area sales manager at ScanBox Thermoproducts AB.