Its the company that has been making headlines across the world in 2019.
Chinese technology company Huawei is the world’s number one telecom supplier and number two smartphone maker. Yet it’s a pariah in several countries, including the US, to the point that the FBI reportedly set up a sting at CES 2019.
While Huawei may be the name on everyone’s lips in the technology industry, many of us may feel lost in the dark without any signal when it comes to the facts.
Here, we round up everything you need to know about the mysterious powerhouse…
WHO ARE HUAWEI?
Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is a Chinese multinational technology company that provides telecommunications equipment and sells consumer electronics including smartphones.
The headquarters are in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.
The name Huawei may be translated as ‘splendid act’ or ‘Chinese excellence’.
WHAT DO HUAWEI DO?
Originally, the company focused on manufacturing phone switches.
Huawei has since expanded its business to include building telecommunications networks, providing operational and consulting services and equipment to enterprises inside and outside of China, and manufacturing communications devices for the consumer market.
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.
Its networks, numbering over 1,500, reach one third of the world’s population. Huawei overtook Ericsson in 2012 as the largest telecommunications-equipment manufacturer in the world, and overtook Apple last year as the second-largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world, behind Samsung Electronics.
WHO OWNS HUAWEI?
The company was founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei.
Due to the Ren’s background, Huawei were rewarded with Chinese government contracts in data centre building, and telecommunications construction in 4G network.
Ren now serves as a deputy chairman of the board of directors, but he is not among the current three rotating CEOs
WHAT IS THE CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING HUAWEI?
Although successful internationally, Huawei has faced difficulties in some markets, due to cybersecurity allegations.
The United States government has stated that Huawei’s infrastructure equipment may enable surveillance by the Chinese government.
With the development of 5G wireless networks, there have been calls from the US to prevent use of products by Huawei or fellow Chinese telecom ZTE.
Huawei has argued that its products posed ‘no greater cybersecurity risk’ than those of any other vendor, and that there is no evidence of the U.S. espionage claims.
Nonetheless, Huawei pulled out of the US consumer market in 2018, after these concerns affected the ability to market their consumer products there.
US measures intensified in May 2019, when an executive order was signed to prevent transactions involving information technology between US companies and foreign adversaries, and being placed on an export blacklist for violations of Iran sanctions.
A large number of vendors and associations have cut ties or otherwise restricted their business with Huawei due to the restrictions.
Since then Google have announced it is going to block Huawei from using Android apps on its devices. EE decided to omit Huawei’s Mate 20 X 5G handset from its 5G line-up while Vodafone has cancelled an event based around its own 5G rollout.