Wellington — For years Huawei’s biggest rivals in the telecoms equipment market — Finnish group Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson — were based far away from the Shenzhen-headquartered group. But now a credible challenger looking to tap into the once in a decade global race to deploy 5G has emerged closer to home: Samsung Electronics.

The Seoul-headquartered group has long lagged behind its global peers when it comes to providing telecoms kit. In the minds of investors and analysts, Samsung’s struggling network business has been a distant afterthought to its core revenue drivers of computer chips, smartphones and displays.

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