Huawei

Huawei Technologies Co. is a Chinese multinational telecommunications company

Summary

Huawei Technologies Co. is a Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and consumer electronics company based in Shenzhen, Guangdong, South China.

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. 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

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 in the United States: enterprise (IP networking and routers, wireless, storage, data centre security), carrier, and consumer devices (smartphones and tablets).

History

Early years

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.

Expansion

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 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

Recent performance

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.

Political involvement

Huawei has been accused of espionage over the Chinese 5G network equipment. In 2018, the United States passed a defence funding bill that made it illegal for the federal government to do business with Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese vendors of surveillance products, due to possible security issues.

Products and services

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.

Controversies

Huawei has faced criticism for several aspects of its operations, with its most prominent controversies having involved U.S. allegations of its products containing backdoors for Chinese government espionage. Huawei executives have dismissed these allegations, stating that the company has never accepted any requests by the Chinese government to offer backdoors in its equipment, would refuse to do so, and that Chinese law did not coerce them to do so.

Huawei has been accused of intellectual property theft against parties such as Nortel, Cisco Systems, and T-Mobile US (a Huawei employee photographed a robotic arm used to stress-test smartphones and taken a fingertip from the robot).

Recent developments

The Financial Times reported that “Huawei has bought a stake in the company that commercialises research at Oxford University, giving the Chinese telecoms maker access to some of the most promising early-stage technology developed by British academics”.

“A spokesperson for Huawei said that the investment in OSI was part of its ‘long term commitment to the UK’. ‘We continue to support OSI in its ambition to bring new ideas to the world.'”

The university has been urged by Conservative MPs to reconsider its decision to work with Huawei, which has been called a security risk in the US over its ties with the Communist regime in Beijing.

References