THE founder of Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei, which has faced security concerns in the United States and Australia, is calling for global cooperation to improve data protection.
Ren Zhengfei, in a rare public appearance at an economic forum on Friday, did not mention the controversy surrounding Huawei. But he warned data would be "vulnerable to attack again and again" because technology will develop faster than security. He gave no details of possible joint measures.
"Cyber security is a common issue that the whole industry has to face," Ren said at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. "We must join up to proactively address this issue."
Huawei Technologies Ltd was founded by Ren in 1987.
Huawei works with 45 of the 50 biggest global phone companies and says it has won industry trust. It invited the US government last year to investigate it in order to allay security concerns.
Ren, a former military engineer, said the industry must rapidly develop reliable cyberspace technology to support development of education and social skills.
"It is unfeasible to establish an absolutely impenetrable security assurance system that can keep data flowing securely within the networks at all times," Ren said.
"Data floods will never go away," he said. "No matter how well we design and reinforce security assurance systems, they will be vulnerable to attacks again and again."
Ren is one of China's most enigmatic business figures, rarely appearing in public and never talking to reporters. Forbes magazine has estimated his net worth at more than US$1 billion.
Huawei reported profit of 11.6 billion yuan (US$1.8 billion) last year on sales of 209.9 billion yuan. Profits fell 53 percent from 2010, which Huawei blamed on weak global demand and the strength of China's yuan against foreign currencies.