Bite-size Case Study

The unprecedented case of Huawei

Published on July 28, 2021 Originally recorded 2021   7 min
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Huawei's success is a household legend in China. For many Chinese consumers to use a Huawei smartphone other than, for instance, a Samsung or Apple, is an act of supporting their nation. In 1987, 44 year old, former PRA engineer, Ren Zhengfei founded Huawei technologies in Shenzhen. At the beginning, Huawei faced fierce competition from eight global giants that dominated the Chinese telecom markets. Huawei, however, managed to rise to the top in the Chinese market and even became a global player. Its revenue reached a $100 billion for the first time in 2018, with a 188,000 employees globally. Huawei overtook Ericsson in 2012 to become the largest telecommunication equipment manufacturer in the world. It surpassed Apple in 2018 as the second largest manufacturer of smartphones, just behind Samsung. However, things changed dramatically for Huawei. The turning point is in January 2019 when the US unveiled a high-profile case against Huawei, which includes allegations of fraud, stealing of trade secrets and skirting the US sanctions against Iran.
As of September 2019, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan region and the US banned the company's products within their mobile networks. Meanwhile, the UK has proposed a ban of Huawei products for core parts of its new 5G network. Germany and France plan to increase security measures to safeguard against backdoors into communication channels that are feared as part of Huawei's technology. Several European countries, including Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands, are still on the fence about possible bans.