Huawei poses challenges to national security and has engaged in unacceptable acts, Google’s former boss Eric Schmidt has told the BBC.
But he says the West should respond by competing with China and its technologies, rather than disengaging.
Mr Schmidt now chairs the Pentagon’s Defence Innovation Board.
The UK is currently reviewing whether to continue letting Huawei help build its 5G mobile networks amid growing pressure to exclude the Chinese firm.
“There’s no question that Huawei has engaged in some practices that are not acceptable in national security,” Mr Schmidt told a BBC Radio 4 documentary.
He said it was possible to think of the company as a means of “signals intelligence” – a reference to spy agencies like the UK’s GCHQ or NSA in the US.
“There’s no question that information from Huawei routers has ultimately ended up in hands that would appear to be the state,” Mr Schmidt added.
“However that happened, we’re sure it happened.”
Huawei has consistently denied accusations that it is an arm of the Chinese state, or passes on customer data to the authorities.
“The allegations made by Eric Schmidt, who now works for the US government, are simply not true and as with similar assertions in the past, are