The Canberra Raiders are keen to sign on for another major sponsorship deal with embattled Chinese tech giant Huawei, despite the serious accusations made against the company in the United States.
Huawei has been the Raiders major sponsor with prime position on the club's jumper for eight years, with the current three-year deal set to expire at the end of the 2019 season.
Both the Raiders and Huawei won't comment on how much the company pays to be front and centre on the team's jumpers, but
almost a million dollars a year.
Club chief executive Don Furner said the club was untroubled by the indictments in the United States and would be keen to get back to the negotiating table with the company, with talks due to start once the NRL season is underway.
"We would love to keep them on board. They're our longest serving major sponsor, been a fantastic partner and we would love to keep them. But we haven't sat down with them, we will get up and see them once the season kicks off," Mr Furner said.
The accusations and continued negative commentary about the company from national security agencies in Western countries had no effect on that enthusiasm, Mr Furner said.
"Absolutely categorically no, they've been a fantastic partner. We're very proud to carry their logo and we would love them to stay on," he said.
"They've helped us raise a lot of money for community programs that we've done and junior development that we've done and we know them very well and we would love them to stay on."
Mr Furner said he didn't believe the accusation that Huawei had allegedly violated US sanctions in Iran and stolen trade secrets had any effect on the club's reputation.
"Big companies, same as the Raiders, we go through times of negative publicity and big companies can too. But we'll leave that to them, that's their core business. We're just very proud of the partnership we have with them and and we definitely aim to maintain that."
Huawei has also said it wants to continue the relationship with the Raiders, but will first undertake an internal analysis of the sponsorship deal's value for money.
"We'll be talking with the Raiders and obviously talking internally as well about whether or not we re-sign," director of Corporate Affairs for the company in Australia Jeremy Mitchell said.
"We're very positive about it, it's been of great benefit for us, but we need to ensure that it ticks all the boxes for our business going forward and we'll speak to the Raiders about that."
Mr Mitchell said this was standard practice for the company when contracts came up for renewal, and the company valued the partnership including the charity work done by the club and the business.
The overseas accusations didn't affect the company's local sponsorship strategy, Mr Mitchell said, and while the government's decision to ban Huawei from building a 5G network in Australia would form part of the company's review of sponsorship, it wasn't a barrier.
"We went into the Raiders sponsorship at a time when we had just been banned from the NBN and we have grown our company since that time, by over 60 per cent of growth," he said.
"So yes the 5G decision is something that we're not happy with but we're a very large business in Australia – we have an enterprise business, we have a very fast-growing consumer business and we are still the largest provider of 4G networks in Australia and that will continue for the next few years. So while it will be part of the equation it certainly doesn't rule out us signing up again with the Raiders."
Huawei's sponsorship of the Raiders was the focus of a chapter of Clive Hamilton's book Silent Invasion: How China is turning Australia into a puppet state,
the company chose the club because of powerful former public servants on the board.