Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. ( HWAH-way; Chinese: 华为; pinyin: Huáwéi) is a Chinese multinational technology corporation headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. It designs, develops, produces and sells telecommunications equipment, consumer electronics and various smart devices.
The corporation was founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei, a former officer in the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Initially focused on manufacturing phone switches, Huawei has 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 has deployed its products and services in more than 170 countries and areas. It overtook Ericsson in 2012 as the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world, and overtook Apple in 2018 as the second-largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world, behind Samsung Electronics. In 2018, Huawei reported annual revenue of US$108.5 billion. In July 2020, Huawei surpassed Samsung and Apple in the number of phones shipped worldwide for the first time. This was primarily due to a drop in Samsung's global sales in the second quarter of 2020, owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.Although successful internationally, Huawei has faced difficulties in some markets, due to undue state support, links to the PLA, and cybersecurity concerns 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 U.S. and its allies to not do any kind of business with Huawei or other Chinese telecommunications companies such as ZTE. Huawei has argued that its products posed "no greater cybersecurity risk" than those of any other vendor and claims that there is no evidence of the U.S. espionage. However, experts point out that the 2014 Counter-Espionage Law and 2017 National Intelligence Law of the People's Republic of China are far-reaching legislation that compels Huawei and other companies to cooperate in gathering intelligence. According to former staff "it is no secret that employees often work with intelligence officials embedded in the company", with 25,000 Huawei employees previously serving in the Ministry of State Security or the PLA. Intelligence agencies have also implicated Huawei in several häçks of telecom networks, while several rival telecom manufacturers like Nortel and Cisco Systems have traced industrial espionage back to Huawei.Despite claims that it operates as a private company, questions regarding Huawei's ownership and control persist. Huawei is considered a national champion in China's "techno-nationalist development strategies", and has received extensive support including financing from state-owned banks, plus China has engaged in diplomatic lobbying and threatened trade reprisals against countries who considered blocking Huawei's participation from 5G. Huawei has assisted in the surveillance and mass detention of Uyghurs in Xinjiang internment camps, resulting in sanctions by the United States Department of State. Huawei also tested a facial recognition AI that recognizes ethnicity-specific features to alert government authorities of members of an ethnic group.In the midst of an ongoing trade war between China and the United States, Huawei was restricted from doing commerce with U.S. companies due to alleged previous willful violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran. On 29 June 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump reached an agreement to resume trade talks with China and announced that he would ease the aforementioned sanctions on Huawei. Huawei cut 600 jobs at its Santa Clara research center in June, and in December 2019 founder Ren Zhengfei said it was moving the center to Canada because the restrictions would block them from interacting with US employees. In 2020, Huawei agreed to sell the Honor brand to a state-owned enterprise of the Shenzhen municipal government to "ensure its survival", after the U.S. sanctions against them.
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