18 May 2012

China Mobile’s IIS License Concerns U.S. Security Officials

China Mobile’s application for licensing an international information service on United States territory is facing scrutiny from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Justice Department, as alien infrastructure on US ground could pose a security issue.

Monitoring and routing internet traffic on American territory could lead to potential threats to government information and violate intellectual property rights of U.S.-based companies. Although China Mobile had already been licensed to provide telecommunication and internet services in the United States, this new debate on cyber security issues could lead to an all-out law site between China Mobile and U.S. officials.

“The U.S. Internet and telecommunication market has always been tough on Chinese companies, and the government’s only explanation is security,” said Yang Haifeng, Chief Editor of Communication World Weekly. “As Chinese companies expand business overseas, some American counterparts are struggling. Blocking the Chinese companies is not only protectionism, but also a political move.”

China Mobile has been investing in overseas carriers since 2007 and, if this license application should be denied by the United States, it will suffer a crippling blow to its competitiveness on American territory.

“It can be a blow to China Mobile’s competitiveness within the country, since the investment in the  U.S.  has been the company’s strategic focus,” said information expert Fu Liang.