In the west, many are still not yet familiar with Huawei. But in Asia and neighboring countries, Huawei is a telecommunications giant. At the rate it is going, it is set to become a dominant power player in the global telecommunications market.
Who is Huawei?
Huawei started out in 1987. Its founder, Mr. Ren Zhengfei started Huawei with only roughly $5,000 and sold telephone exchange equipments which were imported from Hong Kong. It got its much-awaited break with the C&C08 digital telephone switch. That was the break that made them rise in the industry because that was the same time that China was experiencing a telecoms infrastructure boom. The timing was perfect. Their main strategy was to undercut their competitors, which they succeeded doing not only domestically but internationally. In Africa, Huawei successfully undercut Nokia and Ericsson by 5 to 15 percent.
Huawei has more than 140,000 employees, 44% of which are in Research and Development. The corporate campus in Shenzhen boasts of 10,000 engineers. Employee perks include meeting rooms that have a Zen garden feel. First class baristas serve employees in the espresso bar. What is interesting though is the fact that just across the road, you can find Foxconn’s factory complex where Apple’s iPhones and iPads are manufactured. And did we mention that Huawei also outsources some of its equipment from Foxconn?
Over the years it has extended its reach from Carrier Network Business to Enterprise and Consumer Business. Huawei is set to be the leader in innovation in these areas.
Pieces of the pie
Africa is perhaps Huawei’s biggest base. Huawei is known everywhere there. It has also won contracts in Canada and New Zealand. However, not everyone is willing to let Huawei enter the market. India and Australia are still reluctant to let Huawei in. Let’s not forget America, who is probably the wariest of them all.
A lot of critics and competitors are claiming that Huawei has stolen intellectual properties over the years and this is the reason for the company’s success. One of those competitors is Cisco, a popular supplier of network equipment in America. They are convinced that Huawei stole the design of one of their early products.
Others fear that the Chinese government may be using Huawei to infiltrate other networks. Questions of espionage surface and some just think that allowing Huawei into their networks is plain crazy. Questions about cracks in Huawei’s router security come into focus. People are calling it “back doors”. People are afraid that these flaws might be put deliberately. But others argue that these are minor things that even the original programmers might have missed. These are simple bugs in the programming code.
The numbers don’t lie
In the first half of 2012 alone, Huawei earned $16 billion. In 2011, it was $15 billion in the first half. Sales have been steadily rising since 2007 where sales were just over $10 billion. As 2011 ended, sales reached over $30 billion dollars. Sales are expected to be higher as 2012 closes.
In 2011, Huawei toppled closest rival Ericsson in the Asia-Pacific market. It was a very close fight in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. In the Caribbean and Latin America, Ericsson is still the market leader although Huawei is slowly closing the gap. In North America, Ericsson is still king.
In the long run
Huawei sees itself as an innovator and a sales force. They are claiming to be the new face of Chinese technology. It is already a global brand. It’s only a matter of time when other countries see Huawei in that light and allow this Chinese telecoms giant to be the leader in their respective markets.
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