Huawei Technologies is one of the world’s fastest growing telecom-hardware makers, and yet much of the company is shrouded in secrecy. Fortunately, thanks to BBC reporter Nick Mackie who was allowed a rare glimpse inside the inner-workings of Huawei, we now know a little more about China’s enigmatic tech giant.
Based in Shenzhen, southern China, Huawei’s telecom systems currently connect one third of the world’s mobile phones, and the company employs a global staff of 110,000 workers — more than Microsoft or Cisco.
At first glance, the casually-dressed employees walking around on Huawei’s corporate campus at lunchtime appears to be a scene more commonly found in Silicon Valley. “It’s a very young company, it’s less than 20 years old,” Ross Gan, global head of Huawei Technologies’ corporate communications, told the BBC. “Our workforce is also very young — the average age is 29 — so there’s a very dynamic environment within the company.”
In 2010, Huawei’s revenue was $28 billion and according to Gan, the company expects to grow to over $100 billion in annual revenue within ten years. In comparison, Apple is expected to surpass $100 billion in annual revenue for the first time this year. Microsoft’s annual revenue in 2010 was over $62 billion.
Huawei’s booming growth is representational of Asia’s increasing stronghold on the manufacturing industry, and more specifically the consumer side of selling mobile devices. In the first quarter of 2011, Huawei sold 7 million mobile devices and expects to ship 60 million mobile phones (20 million of which will likely be Android smartphones) by the end of this year. Apple sold 20 million iPhones in the most recent quarter.
While many Americans probably haven’t heard of Huawei yet, the brand may soon become a household name in the states. Victor Xu, chief marketing officer for Huawei’s device business, told The Wall Street Journal that Huawei is considering a multi-million dollar marketing budget in the U.S. for next year.
Despite Huawei’s impressive growth, many U.S. lawmakers are concerned about the company’s alleged close ties with China’s military, notes ZDNet. In the wake of recent cyber attacks on the International Monetary Fund, which investigators now believe was a China-based attack, according to Bloomberg, officials want to be certain that Huawei’s technology isn’t behind hacking threats.
“We believe that the misconceptions stem from media and political parties,” Dr Song Liuping, Huawei’s chief legal officer, told the Telegraph. “Huawei is taking an open and transparent attitude to address the concerns of the US government. In fact, we have been making all efforts to address their concerns and questions.”
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