Huawei Australia will continue to fulfil its sponsor obligations to the Canberra Raiders despite the ongoing uncertainty caused by the suspension of the National Rugby League season due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The support from Huawei gives the Raiders a vital revenue stream as it seeks a pathway through the disruption to scheduled business activities.
Financing for the sponsorship of the Canberra Raiders has come directly from Huawei’s China headquarters – rather than the local operation – since the Turnbull Government imposed a 5G ban on the company in August 2018, crippling its ability to fund the sponsorship from local revenues.
Since that decision to exclude Chinese telcos from the local 5G build, Huawei has made 500 local employees redundant with thousands of local contractors also impacted by the ban.
Huawei Australia recently dissolved its local board with company’s chair – former Royal Australian Navy rear admiral John Lord – leaving a nine-year position.
The sponsorship of the Canberra Raiders was Huawei’s first major sporting sponsorship anywhere in the world, and many of its global executives have visited the Raiders’ HQ over the years, including founder Mr Ren Zhengfei.
Huawei Australia corporate affairs director Jeremy Mitchell said;“Our Chinese colleagues may not know the difference between a full-back and a front-rower but they do know the importance of sticking by your friends when they need help.”
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said the club’s relationship with Huawei had a long history and was unusually strong. “While some people talk about having strong partnerships, they don’t mean very much until you go through bad times together and back each other up.”
“We at the Raiders supported Huawei Australia through a difficult period and now Huawei are supporting us through a very difficult time and getting behind us for the long-haul in terms of your commitment to us.
“Huawei and the Raiders have gone beyond simply being a commercial arrangement, we have a very, very strong relationship that has become personal to a very large extent and it is one that we greatly appreciate.”
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