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A logo of 5G is seen at a Huawei authorised experience store on May 29, 2020 in Beijing, China.Qin Luyao | VCG | Getty Images

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has officially designated Huawei and ZTE national security threats.

That means that companies cannot use an $8.3 billion government subsidy program, known as the Universal Service Fund, to purchase, maintain or support any equipment or services from the two Chinese telecommunications giants.

"With today's Orders, and based on the overwhelming weight of evidence, the (FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security) Bureau has designated Huawei and ZTE as national security risks to America's communications networks—and to our 5G future," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. 

The ruling formalizes a unanimous FCC vote in November in which the regulator declared both Chinese companies as national security risks.

Huawei and ZTE did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by CNBC.

Washington's latest move is another blow to Huawei and ZTE, building on the country's larger campaign over the past 18 months against both Chinese companies. Last year, Huawei was put on a U.S. blacklist called the Entity List and a new rule in May aimed to cut the technology giant off from key semiconductor supplies. 

The Trump administration has also been trying to convince other countries to block Huawei from the rollout of their 5G networks. Countries like Australia and Japan have followed suit. India is also reportedly weighing whether to bar Huawei amid broader geopolitical tensions with China. However, others nations like the U.K. have defied the U.S., granting Huawei a limited role in its 5G rollout. 

5G refers to next-generation mobile networks that promise super-fast data speeds. But they're seen as even more important than previous generations of networks because of their potential ability to underpin critical infrastructure. 

Critics of Huawei and ZTE have claimed that their networking equipment could be used by Beijing for espionage.

"Both companies have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China's military apparatus, and both companies are broadly subject to Chinese law obligating them to cooperate with the country's intelligence services," Pai said. 

The FCC chairman was referring to a national security law in China that appears to compel companies to hand over data to the government if requested to do so. 

Huawei has repeatedly said that it would never hand data to Beijing.  

"We cannot and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit network vulnerabilities and compromise our critical communications infrastructure," Pai added.

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  • ZTE Corp
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News Source: CNBC

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WWE Officially Acquires Independent Wrestling Promotion

PWInsider has confirmed that WWE has officially purchased EVOLVE Wrestling, ending months of rumors and negotiations between both parties. According to the report, the deal was finalized recently.

WWE has worked with EVOLVE in the past, and the deal seems like a natural progression for both companies. WWE hosted an EVOLVE pay-per-view on the WWE Network last year, possibly to counteract an All Elite Wrestling event that took place on the same night. To this day, it remains the only non-WWE promotion to stream on the platform. This doesn’t include companies such as WCW and ECW, which previously acquired.

EVOLVE has had a close working relationship with WWE for several years now. It’s not uncommon for NXT stars to appear at EVOLVE shows, and the independent promotion has also served as a feeder system for the company. It remains to be seen if EVOLVE will remain its own entity or become merged with the NXT.

EVOLVE’s business method until now was to host shows throughout weekends in popular wrestling hotbeds. These shows were often boosted with the presence of WWE superstars, including Matt Riddle and other popular competitors. According to the report, EVOLVE generated a lot of revenue by hosting meet and greet sessions with WWE stars as well.

The report states that WWE will have access to EVOLVE’s library of content, which will likely be hosted on the company’s streaming service moving forward. The EVOLVE library also gives WWE access to fresh content from current superstars during their independent days, including Daniel Bryan, Walter and Kyle O’Reilly.

EVOLVE’s decision to sell to WWE is likely the result of the COVID-19 pandemic hurting the independent wrestling industry. Companies outside of the major promotions are struggling to sustain themselves right now, and EVOLVE may have triggered the clause in their agreement with WWE which gives Vince McMahon’s company first refusal to acquire them.

WWE has potential acquisition agreements in place with other promotions around the world, though EVOLVE appears to be the only company to exercise the clause at the time of this writing. There have been rumors of WWE expanding NXT territories abroad in recent times, and those deals could be a part of those ambitions.

However, the company’s decision to purchase EVOLVE during a pandemic might raise a few eyebrows. WWE has been cutting back on costs in order to cope with the economic uncertainty of COVID-19, which resulted in multiple employees losing their jobs.

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