Can Huawei Change?

9:30 AM New year message makes all the right noises, but can it deliver on its stated corporate and cultural aspirations?

January 4, 2013

2 Min Read
Can Huawei Change?

9:30 AM -- The new year message posted by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. acting CEO Guo Ping, in which he provides guidance for the company's financial performance in 2012, contains many of the assurances Huawei has broadcast during the past few years -- how it is going to be more open, accountable, responsible and so on. (See Huawei Memo Suggests Major 2012 Growth.)

Those assurances are more noteworthy than ever, given the company's experiences in the U.S., Australia and other markets during 2012. (See US vs Huawei/ZTE: The Verdict, Australia's (Safe) Bet Against Huawei and Huawei Denied German Bid.)Among a number of interesting passages, including one that notes how Huawei managers who "expand business blindly must be held accountable" (gulp!), this is the one that, I believe, will come under the greatest scrutiny during the coming year:

In 2013, we will further our efforts in legal and regulatory compliance across the world, become more open and transparent, and proactively contribute to the betterment of the global business environment. Huawei has business presence in 150 countries and regions worldwide. Apart from providing products and services, we are committed to integrating with local society. We will expand business operations, create jobs, and contribute to tax revenue. We will attract more talent from all over the world to create a better future for the company.

Great phrases for Huawei's representatives and supporters to repeat, but meaningless without tangible, identifiable actions, including a quantifiable clampdown on the antics and actions (copying others' marketing materials, taking pictures of rivals' show floor displays and so on) that have damaged the company's brand over the years.

Let's make one thing clear: To the editorial team here at Light Reading, Huawei is just one of many companies that influence the market in many ways and it gets the same treatment as any other. We don't have favorites and we don't champion or denigrate companies because of what they are or where they come from.

But as our reporting has shown over the years, Huawei staff have, time and time again, tarnished the company's reputation and handed ammunition to its detractors.

It's not alone, of course: Nearly every major company with thousands of employees has found itself having to defend the actions of staff over the years. But more than any other company, given its history and current situation, Huawei needs to prove it can be open, accountable and responsible. If it can achieve its stated goals then Light Reading will be at the front of the line to say so. If it transgresses, we'll be reporting that too.

CEO Guo Ping has set out Huawei's stall for the year and beyond, and the company should be applauded for sharing the mission statement. Now let's see if the company can live up to its own expectations.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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