According to an official statement from the company, Huawei is ending its sponsorship of the Canberra Raiders at the end of the 2020 season as “continued negative business environment is having a larger than originally forecasted impact on our planned revenue stream.” The news arrives amid the increasing political tensions between Australia and China.
At the moment, the national rugby league team is seeking to distance itself from Beijing, after various concerns have arisen regarding trade and security. Currently, Australia has become the first country in the world to have banned Huawei completely from its 5G network infrastructure over the grounds of national security. Since then, Australia and China have had their relationships soured, with even lower points in their relationship being reached during the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to Jeremy Mitchell, a Huawei Australia executive, “Even after the Turnbull government banned us from 5G we managed to find the resources to continue the sponsorship but we just can’t financially support it any longer.” The Chinese tech giant has backed the team for nearly a decade now, and will still keep its name on the team’s training center along with a place on the rear of the football jersey.