Chinese telco giant cuts ties with NRL
Chinese telecommunications company Huawei has announced this season will be its last as major sponsor of the Canberra Raiders.
Huawei has sponsored the NRL side for the past nine years but cited the "continued negative business environment" it faces Down Under as a major reason for parting ways.
The federal government branded the company "high risk" and in 2018 prevented it from contributing to Australia's 5G mobile network because of fears Chinese intelligence may hack into the network.
While its major sponsorship, reportedly worth approximately $1 million a season, is ending, Huawei and the Raiders will still retain a connection.
"Huawei announced a new two-season deal with the Canberra Raiders in June 2019 to run through to the end of the 2021 NRL season," Huawei said in a statement.
"However, the continued negative business environment is having a larger than originally forecasted impact on our planned revenue stream and therefore we will have to terminate our major sponsorship of the Raiders at the end of the 2020 season.
"The Huawei logo will be relocated to the back of the Raiders jersey and Huawei will retain naming rights of the new Huawei Raiders Training Centre in Canberra that will continue to be important showcase of our technology."
Huawei Australia's Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Jeremy Mitchell said: "We are very proud of our major sponsorship of the Raiders and the fact that it lasted for almost 10 years shows how successful the partnership has been.
"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.
"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."
Raiders CEO Don Furner thanked Huawei for its near decade-long commitment to the club.
"Huawei's commitment to the Raiders has been unwavering and we have worked together to achieve so much for the Raiders family, rugby league itself and the broader community with our charity work," Furner said.
"This relationship has been about so much more than just a logo on a jersey, we have worked with Huawei on a number of very important community initiatives and fundraising opportunities for very worthwhile causes.
"We are very sad that they will be stepping back as major sponsor of the Raiders but we are very proud of all that we have achieved together and we hope we can finish this season off successfully."
Originally published as Chinese telco giant cuts ties with NRL