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Huawei lifts the veil to alleviate western fears

Alex Scroxton

Secretive Chinese comms and networking kit specialist Huawei, which last week unveiled plans to recruit 500 new staff in the UK, has decided to adopt a "market-oriented" corporate governance structure and has also taken step of opening up its board to scrutiny by western authorities.

The company, which today unveiled its 2010 numbers, said it wanted to evolve into a provider of integrated end-to-end ICT solutions and services and claimed that this move would help it do so.

Under the new structure, Huawei's main business units will be overseen by their own executive management teams that will in turn be managed by the company's CEO alongside an active board of directors, which it has now named for the first time.

This move has revealed that a number of family members of its founder Ren Zhengfei hold board posts, including his daughter, CFO Meng Wanzhou, according to the FT.

Zhengfei, who trained as an architect and civil engineer, has been the source of much disquiet over Huawei's ambitions due to his time in the higher echelons of the Chinese miltary and suspected close ties to the ruling party.

He quit the People's Liberation Army in 1983 when the Engineering Corps was dissolved, and after a period working in oil exploration, set up Huawei in 1987.

Turning to the figures, aggressive international expansion by the Shenzen-based vendor has pushed profits up by 30% year-on-year to CNY 23.8bn (£2.2bn), while full-year figures for 2010 show revenue growth of 24.2% to CNY 185.2bn.

Huawei said that "notable expansion in overseas markets" and development in its core divisions, Telecoms, Global Services and Devices, had kept the numbers high.

Note also that Huawei launched its first Android-based smartphones and a tablet device during 2010.

"Operators continue to choose Huawei for our unique ability to transform their needs into customised, innovative and flexible solutions that create maximum value," said deputy chairman Ken Hu.

"As part of [our] future growth strategy we leveraged our deep experience in the telecoms industry to expand into new areas, including the enterprise and device businesses, and will continue to capitalise on opportunities provided by the industry's digital transformation to support our global business in 2011," he added.


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