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Extended-form Case Study
Huawei in North America: international corporate strategies under political pressures
Published on May 31, 2021 38 min
Other Talks in the Series: Emerging Market Multinationals
Weaponizing globalization: Chinese high-tech in the crosshairs of geopolitics
- Dr. Francis Schortgen
- University of Mount Union, USA
Extended-form Case Study
Exemplar partner or controversial outsider? Huawei’s strategic engagement in Oceania
Huawei 24 min
- Dr. Jake Lin
- Bielefeld University, Germany
Prof. Chapardar: Hello everyone, my name is Hadi Chaparda. Prof. Wei: Hello everyone, my name is William Wei. Hadi and I are professors at the School of Business at MacEwan University, in the city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Prof. Chapardar: In this case study, we review the strategies that Huawei (the Chinese multinational enterprise) adopted in North America, not least in Canada, when it faced stringent political pressures from the United States.
What is this case about? Huawei is a pioneer in developing 5G technology, which seems to be a game-changer in ICT (information and communication technology). The company internationalized to the US in 2001, and to Canada in 2008, but in recent years, its wrongdoing was alleged and investigated repeatedly, and it faced strong pressures in the US. This political pressure became even more salient and complicated after the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, CFO of the company and daughter of Ren Zhengfei, the founder and CEO of Huawei, this arrest happened not in the US, but in Canada. In December 2018, when Meng Wanzhou was transiting through Vancouver International Airport, she was held and interviewed for three hours by the Canada Border Services Agency. This interview led to a provisional arrest, stemming from an arrest warrant issued by a judge in New York a few months earlier, in August 2018. The arrest was made in Canada under the terms of an extradition treaty between the US and Canada. In fact, investigating Huawei had started a few years earlier, and included a possible violation of US sanctions against Iran since 2016, which led to filing charges of fraud against Meng. Huawei took an active position defending its CFO, which, in the second year after the arrest, was still going on. In fact, the arrest of Meng was a critical event in Huawei's business in North America, and influenced its strategies. In this case study, we do not aim to delve deep into the complicated politics of the arrest, instead, from a corporate strategy perspective, we aim to understand how Huawei responded to the disruption of its business in the United States, and how these external forces influenced strategy in Canada, which of course is a very close ally of the United States.