Huawei Technologies Co. is a Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and consumer electronics company based in Shenzhen, Guangdong, South China. Founded in 1987, Huawei is the world’s largest telecom equipment maker and China’s largest telephone-network equipment maker. With 3,442 patents, Huawei became the world’s No. 1 applicant for international patents in 2014.
Huawei have nearly 188,000 employees, and operate in more than 170 countries and regions, serving more than three billion people around the world. The company’s products and solutions have been deployed in over 100 countries and have served 45 of the world’s top 50 telecom operators as well as one-third of the world’s population. Huawei Technologies has 3 divisions: enterprise (IP networking and routers, wireless, storage, data centre security), carrier, and consumer devices (smartphones and tablets).
During the 1980s, the Chinese government tried to improve the country’s backwards telecommunications infrastructure. The main component of the telecommunications network was telephone exchange switches, and in the late 1980s, several Chinese research groups endeavoured to acquire and develop the technology, usually through joint ventures with foreign companies.
Ren Zhengfei, a former deputy director of the People’s Liberation Army engineering corps, founded Huawei in 1987 in Shenzhen. The company reports that it had RMB 21,000 in registered capital at the time of its founding.
The company’s first major breakthrough came in 1993 when it launched its C&C08 program controlled telephone switch. It was by far the most powerful switch available in China at the time. By initially deploying in small cities and rural areas and placing emphasis on service and customizability, the company gained market share and made its way into the mainstream market.
Another major turning point for the company came in 1996 when the government in Beijing adopted an explicit policy of supporting domestic telecommunications manufacturers and restricting access to foreign competitors. Huawei was promoted by both the government and the military as a national champion, and established new research and development offices.
In 1997, Huawei won a contract to provide fixed-line network products to Hong Kong company Hutchison Whampoa. Later that year, Huawei launched its wireless GSM-based products and eventually expanded to offer CDMA and UMTS. In 1999, the company opened a research and development (R&D) center in Bangalore, India to develop a wide range of telecom software.
In 2005, Huawei’s foreign contract orders exceeded its domestic sales for the first time. Huawei signed a Global Framework Agreement with Vodafone. This agreement marked the first time a telecommunications equipment supplier from China had received Approved Supplier status from Vodafone Global Supply Chain. Huawei also signed a contract with British Telecom (BT) for the deployment of its multi-service access network (MSAN) and Transmission equipment for BT’s 21st Century Network (21CN).
In 2007, Huawei began a joint venture with U.S. security software vendor Symantec Corporation, known as Huawei Symantec, which aimed to provide end-to-end solutions for network data storage and security. Huawei bought out Symantec’s share in the venture in 2012.
In May 2008, Australian carrier Optus announced that it would establish a technology research facility with Huawei in Sydney. In October 2008, Huawei reached an agreement to contribute to a new GSM-based HSPA+ network being deployed jointly by Canadian carriers Bell Mobility and Telus Mobility, joined by Nokia Siemens Networks. Huawei delivered one of the world’s first LTE/EPC commercial networks for TeliaSonera in Oslo, Norway in 2009
In July 2010, Huawei was included in the Global Fortune 500 2010 list published by the U.S. magazine Fortune for the first time, on the strength of annual sales of US$21.8 billion and net profit of US$2.67 billion.
In September 2017, Huawei created a NarrowBand IOT city-aware network using a “one network, one platform, N applications” construction model utilising IoT, cloud computing, big data, and other next-generation information and communications technology, it also aims to be one of the world’s five largest cloud players in the near future.
In April 2019, Huawei established Huawei Malaysia Global Training Centre (MGTC) at Cyberjaya, Malaysia, which is Huawei’s first training centre outside of China.
Huawei consists of three core business segments:
1. Telecom Carrier Networks, building telecommunications networks and services
2. Enterprise Business, providing equipment, software and services to enterprise customers, e.g. Government Solutions – see Huawei 4G eLTE
3. Devices, manufacturing electronic communications devices
Huawei’s core network solutions offer mobile and fixed softswitches, plus next-generation home location register and Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystems (IMS). Huawei sells xDSL, passive optical network (PON) and next-generation PON (NG PON) on a single platform. The company also offers mobile infrastructure, broadband access and service provider routers and switches (SPRS). Huawei’s software products include service delivery platforms (SDPs), BSSs, Rich Communication Suite and digital home and mobile office solutions.
Likewise, Huawei Global Services provides telecommunications operators with equipment to build and operate networks as well as consulting and engineering services to improve operational efficiencies. These include network integration services such as those for mobile and fixed networks; assurance services such as network safety; and learning services, such as competency consulting.
Huawei’s Devices division provides white-label products to content-service providers, including USB modems, wireless modems and wireless routers for mobile Wi-Fi, embedded modules, fixed wireless terminals, wireless gateways, set-top boxes, mobile handsets and video products. Huawei also produces and sells a variety of devices under its own name, such as the IDEOS smartphones, tablet PCs and Huawei Smartwatch.
As of the beginning of 2010, approximately 80% of the world’s top 50 telecoms companies had worked with Huawei.
Prominent partners include:
• Bell Canada
• Cox Communications
• Globe Telecom
• Portugal Telecom
It has 21 R&D institutes in countries including China, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Finland, France, Belgium, Germany, Colombia, Sweden, Ireland, India, Russia, Israel, and Turkey.
Huawei is considering opening a new research and development (R&D) center in Russia (2019/2020), which would be the third in the country after the Moscow and St. Petersburg R&D centers. Huawei also announced plans (November 2018) to open an R&D center in the French city of Grenoble, which would be mainly focused on smartphone sensors and parallel computing software development. The new R&D team in Grenoble was expected to grow to 30 researchers by 2020, said the company. The company said that this new addition brought to five the number of its R&D teams in the country: two were located in Sophia Antipolis and Paris, researching image processing and design, while the other two existing teams were based at Huawei’s facilities in Boulogne-Billancourt, working on algorithms and mobile and 5G standards. The technology giant also intended to open two new research centers in Zürich and Lausanne, Switzerland. Huawei at the time employed around 350 people in Switzerland.
In 2018, Huawei sold 200 million smartphones. They reported that the company reached consumer sales in excess of $52 billion in 2018. Huawei’s worldwide revenues were $105.1 billion for 2018, with a net profit of $8.7 billion. Huawei’s Q1 2019 revenues were up 39% year-over-year, at US$26.76 billion.
Huawei unveiledat the Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC) 2018 their digital platform for smart cities. The titled Digital Platform for smart cities looks to help governments and other organisations develop, tests and deploy smart urban initiatives, bringing together technologies such as AI, hybrid cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT).
This includes a central Intelligent Operations Centre (IOC) which can allow officials to bring together a variety of different feeds such as video and data sensors, to create real-time live 3D maps to spot potential problems such as traffic build-up or pollution hotspots.
The system can also use predictive AI models to make models for the future, analysing trends from the past to provide information on potential issues.
In the Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC) 2018, Yu Dong, President of the Industry Marketing and Solution Department of Huawei Enterprise Business Group, said: “Huawei believes the primary driver of Smart City development is to offer more benefits and higher efficiency to citizens and businesses. Huawei regards a city as an organic being and strives to build the city nervous system that will enable the city to perceive, think, self-learn and grow. We have consolidated the core elements required for smart city development to build our Digital Platform, which can aggregate the diverse resources of the city and connect all facilities and city applications to make efficient use of the data available. Artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities have been added to Huawei’s Digital Platform following the announcement of our full-stack, all-scenario AI solution, and this will dramatically accelerate innovation for smart city development. Huawei will continue to build digital platforms to help more smart cities achieve true digitalization.”
The company says that its Smart City Solution is already in operation in more than 160 cities in over 40 countries, including European locations such as Duisburg in Germany and Sardinia in Italy.
Huawei is a private company wholly owned by its employees. Through the Union of Huawei Investment & Holding Co., Ltd., they implemented an Employee Shareholding Scheme that involves 96,768 employee shareholders. This scheme is limited to employees. No government agency or outside organization holds shares in Huawei.
Shareholding employees elect 115 representatives to form the Representatives’ Commission. This Representatives’ Commission elects the Chairman of the Board and the remaining 16 board directors. The Board of Directors elects four deputy chairs and three executive directors. Three deputy chairs take turns serving as the company’s rotating chairman.
The rotating chairman leads the Board of Directors and its Executive Committee while in office. The board exercises decision-making authority for corporate strategy and operations management, and is the highest body responsible for corporate strategy, operations management, and customer satisfaction.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Board chairs the Representatives’ Commission. As Huawei’s highest decision-making body, the Representatives’ Commission makes decisions on important company matters, like profit distribution, capital increases, and the elections of members of the Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board.
Ren Zhengfei is the founder and CEO of Huawei and has the power to veto any decisions made by the board of directors.
Huawei disclosed its list of board of directors for the first time in 2010. Liang Hua is the current chair of the board. As of 2019, the members of the board are Liang Hua, Guo Ping, Xu Zhijun, Hu Houkun, Meng Wanzhou (CFO and deputy chairwoman, currently out on bail in Vancouver, after being arrested there on December 1, 2018, after an extradition request of US authorities on suspicion of Iran sanctions evasion), Ding Yun, Yu Chengdong, Wang Tao, Xu Wenwei, Chen Lifang, Peng Zhongyang, He Tingbo, Li Yingtao, Ren Zhengfei, Yao Fuhai, Tao Jingwen, and Yan Lida.
Huawei is committed to connecting all people, homes, and organizations that are still offline. They are also driving the adoption of broadband and ultra-fast broadband. In addition, they are infusing AI into connectivity so that their networks can adapt to the changing needs of people and connected things. Going forward, intelligent networks will need to adjust bandwidth and latency in real time, so that they can deliver the consistent, user-centric experience that network customers expect.
In the three main areas (individual users, homes, and organizations), Huawei enables ubiquitous connectivity, whether it’s person-to-person, person-to-thing, or thing- to-thing. With their focus on user experience, they bring AI into networks so that they can proactively sense human needs and the changing environment. These networks will offer intelligent, seamless, and secure connections to people, homes, and organizations, whenever and wherever they want.
To make this a reality, Huawei is constantly innovating. They have developed a range of cutting-edge connectivity technologies that work in any scenario and over any media– Wi-Fi, copper, fiber, cable, microwave, Small Cell, 3G, 4G, 5G, and IoT. They are also leveraging big data and AI to develop intelligent connectivity solutions for individual users, homes, and organizations. Examples include the Huawei SmartWi-Fi, HiLink, OceanConnect, and SoftCOM AI solutions.