Lawmakers Query DoD, Treasury About China-Based Quectel


A bipartisan pair of lawmakers have sent a letter warning Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen of what they call the “problematic relationship” that China-based Quectel Wireless has with being a “civil-military fusion arm” of the Chinese government.

The Jan. 4 letter – written by Chairman Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi D-Ill., of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party – flags Quectel as the world’s largest supplier of cellular Internet of Things (IoT) modules that is growing its U.S. market share with “tens of millions of Quectel modules in smart devices across the country.”

“We write to ask about the potential inclusion of Quectel Wireless Solutions Co. Ltd. (Quectel) on the Department of Defense’s list of Chinese Military Companies (1260H list) and the Department of Treasury’s Non-SDN Chinese Military-Industrial Complex Companies List (NS-CMIC List),” the congressmen said.

“We have obtained information about Quectel that raises questions about whether Quectel may meet the legal requirements to be added to the lists, and accordingly respectfully request to be briefed on this matter,” they said.

The letter points to Quectel’s affiliation with the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), and said the government has worked with the Chinese company to formulate standards and cooperate with technology testing.

“In 2019, Quectel attended, and Quectel’s marketing director spoke at, a conference focused on supporting the IoT industry in China, which was put on by MIIT and the Shenzhen municipal People’s Government,” stated the lawmakers.

The members of Congress suggested that relationship provides evidence that Quectel has supplied the Chinese defense industrial base with information and technological capabilities to bolster the country’s military.

“Quectel is a key supplier for numerous firms that the Department of Defense has already listed as Chinese military companies under 1260H. Quectel has an ongoing relationship with China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom,” stated the lawmakers.

In 2020, the last of this trio of firms awarded Quectel the title “Best 5G Module Partner,” the lawmakers said. They added that Quectel has not only been a major supplier to Huawei, but also has “worked to develop technical standards with Huawei and has designed modules to integrate into Huawei’s platforms.”



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