2009 Top Ten: Most Popular Huawei Stories

If there's one company in the telecom world guaranteed to attract a reading audience these days, it's Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

Even its reproduced press releases attract a lot of attention, while a story with a headline such as "Huawei Does Stuff" is likely to be the most read article of the week. (Unless a former Nortel Networks Ltd. executive is reported to be jumping the compensation queue -- that's always a reader magnet!)

There are many good reasons why eyeballs flock to Huawei stories: Every other vendor wants to know what it's up to for competitive reasons; most of the world's main carriers are its customers these days, so they want to know what's in development or who else is turning to the Chinese vendor; and there's always a chance that a Huawei employee somewhere in the world might do something disreputable.

And there's a very good chance that, once all the main infrastructure suppliers have reported their 2009 financials, Huawei could leapfrog some of its major rivals and move up the communications equipment vendor rankings into a top-three spot. Now, that's a story that would certainly make the 2010 Top Ten.

So here are the most popular Huawei stories that appeared in Light Reading (including our group sites Unstrung and Cable Digital News) in calendar 2009. [Ed. note: We did not include any photo stories, as they generate page views that far exceed regular articles and so distort the rankings.]

10. Huawei Aims for Optical Crown
August 2009: Evidence of Huawei's growing optical strength, but could it be that a short-term network build spurt in China was influencing the numbers? We'll see in 2010.

9. Huawei Swipes Optical Market Share
May 2009: The votes had been counted, and the result suggested something of a coup -- Huawei was wrestling the title of "Top Optical Equipment Vendor" away from AlcaLu.

8. Is Huawei in at Level 3?
July 2009: This story combined a number of high-interest factors, including Huawei's attempts to break into the U.S. market, and the optical attraction of Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN), which has made Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) one of its key accounts.

7. Huawei Joins Vodafone LTE Trial
February 2009: With all the major mobile infrastructure equipment vendors desperate to gain "thought leadership" in the emerging LTE market, news that Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) was putting Huawei's gear through its paces attracted a great deal of attention.

6. Huawei Steps Up in North America
April 2009: With a strong base established in the rest of the world, Huawei turned its attentions to North America. It looks like 2010 might be a crunch year for the Chinese vendor in the U.S. market, where it has made some inroads, but has yet to oust an established rival. If Huawei can break into AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s "Domain Supplier" program, that would change the game. (See AT&T Unveils Domain Supplier Strategy.)

5. Matt Bross Joins Huawei as CTO
September 2009: Matt Bross leaves the service provider world behind and switches camp to the supplier side. We trust he took his selection of "interesting" silk Italian ties with him.

4. NSN Services Chief: Huawei's Years Behind
July 2009: The new battleground for the incumbent vendors is the professional services market, where Huawei is still finding its feet. NSN's head of services, and soon-to-be CEO, Rajeev Suri, spoke to Light Reading in July, and took the opportunity to boast of a dominant position over his Chinese rival. (See Nokia Siemens Replaces Its CEO.)

3. Huawei Overtakes AlcaLu – Again!
May 2009: As the telecom sector's research houses gathered their quarterly numbers from the vendor community, they found time and time again that Huawei was gaining market share at the expense of the incumbents, with AlcaLu finding itself bumped down a few rankings.

2. Huawei Predicts 29% Growth in 2009
January 2009: With the new year hardly started, Huawei had already rubbed its crystal balls furiously, and was predicting stellar growth, while the world economy teetered on the brink and its rivals started thinking of colorful and ingenious ways to say their revenues were on the slide.

1. Huawei Closes In on Rivals
April 2009: Based on 2008 revenues, Huawei was ranked fifth in the global vendor chart, but had gained a lot of ground on Nokia Networks , having left Nortel way behind. Now Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and even Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) are in Huawei's sights for the 2009 sales chart.

Those were the Huawei stories that attracted the most readers in 2009, but there were a bunch of others that were right behind in the popularity stakes. Here are the news stories that almost made the cut:

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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