Chinese telco Huawei has ended its major sponsorship deal with the Canberra Raiders
Chinese telco Huawei has ended its major sponsorship deal with the Canberra Raiders AFP / WANG ZHAO

Huawei is ending its relationship with the National Rugby League’s Canberra Raiders citing the Australian government’s decision to ban it from installing a 5G network in the country as the reason.

The Chinese telecommunications giant is pulling out of its sponsorship deal by the end of the season. In a statement released on Monday, Huawei said the “continued negative business environment” in Australia has impacted its revenue stream. The federal government’s decision to prevent it from installing a 5G mobile network in the country due to fears of Chinese intelligence hacking into the system has deeply affected its business.

“It is so disappointing that it has ended this way but are very proud of the small role we have played in this great NRL club,” Jeremy Mitchell, chief corporate affairs officer of Huawei Australia, said in a statement.

“Our near decade as major sponsor of the Raiders has been one of the most successful in Australian sport and we are very sad that it has come to an end.”

Huawei has been the Raiders’ major sponsor for close to a decade. In June 2019, it signed a two-year extension until the end of the 2021 season. The Raiders sponsorship is Huawei’s first major sporting sponsorship in the world.

The decision is a big blow to the Raiders who now has to look for a new headline sponsor. As for the company, the ban has forced it to cut staff from 1,000 to just 100 by next year, Mitchell said, noted ABC News.

“The business environment in Australia is very hard for a Chinese company," Mitchell added.

Despite this move, the company still hopes the Raiders will win the NRL championship this year.

“We now turn our attention to the rest of the 2020 NRL season and hope with all our hearts that the Raiders can go one better and pull off that long awaited Grand Final win this year.”