Business Transformation

CEO Chat With Eric Xu, Huawei

Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating CEO of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , Eric Xu, in person, in Madrid during the company's annual Ultra-Broadband Forum event.

Huawei, and Xu, have traditionally steered clear of such media engagements. At the same time, Huawei has this year been the subject of increasingly intense levels of scrutiny from the communications industry, due to its phenomenal growth rate of 30%, unprecedented for a major supplier in the telco market. (See Huawei's H1 Sales Grow 30% to $28.3B.)

Eric Xu, Deputy Chairman and Rotating CEO, Huawei
Eric Xu, Deputy Chairman and Rotating CEO, Huawei

My first question to Eric and his senior team (all of whom were in the room -- no pressure, right?) was whether they were familiar with Light Reading. This prompted general hilarity amongst our Huawei hosts, as it emerged that Light Reading is actually the daily "go to" read for the entire company.

Points, Light Reading!

A good ice-breaker, but perhaps we shouldn't have been surprised: As the interview progressed it emerged that Eric's outlook on the communications industry has much in common with Light Reading's.

Notably, both Light Reading and Huawei see a pressing need for the industry to depoliticize the standards process around NFV; we both see virtualization as a step in a journey that ultimately ends in the cloud; and, with Eric, it's all about the money -- seeking new ways to use technology developments such as virtualization and ultra-broadband to help his customers grow their business.

Page 2: Convergence of telecom and enterprise

Page 3: Virtualization and the cloud

Page 4: Open standards and industry politics

Page 5: Enabling new services such as 4K TV

Page 6: Success factors

Page 7: Doing business in the US

— Stephen Saunders, Founder & CEO, Light Reading

Next page: Convergence of telecom and enterprise

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NorCalSurfer77 9/21/2015 | 11:30:46 PM
My 10-year-old Inner Self begs..... If you like Huawei so much, why don't you marry it?  

While there are reasons to like Huawei, IMPO there are probably a couple more reason not to.   

Plenty to say about these last couple of posts on Huawei, but I will keep it short...

Access market is crap.  Tech is GPON today, prob 10G PON variant in a few years (besides some applications).  Anyway, it's covered and Huawei doesn't offer much differentiation (we're talking GA'd product) against the options out there today.  I bet their strategy is likely"give me your Calix quote and I will take 20% off".   

Seen this T3 strategy before, and it failed.  

Significant customer wins?  You could've said the same thing for Wave 7 a few years ago.  Telstrat?  Pannaway? Now, come to think of it, Zhone has a bunch of strategic wins.... 

How many wins in the rural USA market can they claim?  Real numbers, por favor....  and real customers (not just some person(s) with a dream).   

Susan Fourtané 9/16/2015 | 4:22:28 PM
Re: Knows every inch of the company.... I like the "We are still working towards success" statement. Despite the success Huawei enjoys today it is clear that there is a culture of knowing that there is always room for improvement. Following this philosophy, a company will always be successful. -Susan
danielcawrey 9/16/2015 | 2:44:22 PM
Re: Knows every inch of the company.... Really interesting concept, this rotating CEO role. 

I have heard of co-CEO roles before, as in what happened with Blackberry in the past. But a rotating CEO? Never heard of it. I would think a company would rather have one strong and charismatic leader, but that's just me. 
Faisal Khan 9/16/2015 | 2:42:26 PM
Doing business in the US "it's probably the US consumers, who ultimately end up paying more money to enjoy telecommunication services"

As If Huawei is the price leader :)

[email protected] 9/16/2015 | 1:18:22 AM
Knows every inch of the company.... It will help that he has been at Huawei for more than two decades but there didn't seem to be a part of Huawei's extensive and broad business that Eric Xu did not know in detail and was not very serious and passionate about.

And it would seem that the 'rotating' CEO model, whereby a group of senior executives take it in turns to assume the CEO role, works - or at least does not hinder the company's development. That in itself is quite extraordinary.
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