Who’s afraid of Huawei? The rise of a Chinese world-beater is stoking fears of cyber-espionage. Techno-nationalism is not the answer
Posted in: Miscellaneous at 04/08/2012 22:34
Chinese companies have started to win first place in global markets. Huawei has just overtaken Sweden's Ericsson to become the world's largest telecoms-equipment-maker. Even though many foreigners still cannot pronounce its name (some call it "Hawaii", and the firm has even produced a video teaching people to say hwah-way), Huawei is becoming an increasingly powerful global player, capable of going head-to-head with the best in intensely competitive markets. It follows Haier, which is already the leading white-goods-maker; now Lenovo is challenging Hewlett-Packard as the world's biggest PC-maker. Plenty more will follow.
Huawei, a private firm, is a standard-bearer in China's long march into Western markets. Its founder, Ren Zhengfei, who served as an engineer in the People's Liberation Army (PLA), at first struggled to win customers even in China. But his company followed Mao's strategy of using the countryside to encircle and capture the cities, and it has moved on to win foreign markets too: in Europe it is involved in over half of the superfast 4G telecoms networks that have been announced, and it has become a strong competitor in mobile phones (see article). The company is now a $32-billion business empire with 140,000 employees, and customers in 140 countries. It commands respect by delivering high-quality telecoms equipment at low prices.
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