Australia taps China for the majority of its telecommunications equipment imports but needs to do more to ensure the trade relationship isn't a "one-way street", according to Huawei.
Speaking at a summit in Melbourne, the Chinese vendor's Australian chairman John Lord urged Australia to do more to participate in the supply chain of telecommunications equipment makers in China.
He said Huawei alone sourced 70 percent of the materials for its equipment from "non-Chinese companies".
United States' firms were the most well-represented in terms of componentry inputs to Huawei (32 percent), followed by firms from mainland China (30 percent), Taiwan (22 percent) and Europe (10 percent), Lord said.
"These components range from complex chipsets to the most basic nuts and bolts, and there are ample opportunities for Australian companies to play a far greater role in this supply chain," he said.
Lord said that Australia imported over $7.9 billion of telecommunications equipment in 2010/11, and that 53 percent of it came from China.
He challenged Australia to break its mindset of being merely a buyer or importer of equipment, and become more integrated with "China's innovation boom" in order to benefit from it beyond cheaper priced equipment.
"Many Australians still hold onto old ideas about China, that it is simply a manufacturing hub with thousands of workers piecing together millions of mobile phones," Lord said.
"For Huawei, that is a vision of China's past, not its future."
Lord said Huawei and other Chinese firms were pumping vast amounts into product R&D, and hinted Australia could feed into that process.
"Huawei has set up 16 R&D centres worldwide, and it is the view of the local Board of Directors that number 17 should be right here in Australia," he said.