SYDNEY : Embattled Chinese telco Huawei exited its main sponsorship deal with rugby League's Canberra Raiders Monday, citing a ''negative business environment'' after Australia blocked the company from its 5G wireless networks.

The Raiders were the tech giants first large-scale sporting sponsorship worldwide and they have backed the club for almost a decade, with their logo and name on the front of the playing kit.

But Huawei said in a statement that the ''continued negative business environment is having larger than originally forecasted impact on our planned revenue stream,'' in explaining its decision to terminate the deal a year early.

''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 [National Rugby League] Club.'' Huawei Australia's corporate affairs chief Jeremy Mitchell said.

''Our next decade as major sponsor of the Raiders has been one of the most successful in Australian sport and we are very sad that it has come to an end.''

Relations between  China and Australia have nosedived since the Australian government barred Huawei from its 5G wireless networks in 2018 due to perceived links to the Beijing government, which it denies. [AFP]


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