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Huawei Router Prez Gets HiSilicon JobHuawei Router Prez Gets HiSilicon Job

Jeffrey Gao takes up new role as general manager of Huawei's in-house semiconductor business during a turbulent time for the company.

Iain Morris

June 6, 2019

3 Min Read
Huawei Router Prez Gets HiSilicon Job

Jeffrey Gao, the president of Huawei's router business, is now general manager of HiSilicon, the Chinese equipment giant's semiconductor business, after assuming new responsibilities in March this year, according to an update posted on his LinkedIn profile.

Gao has not given up his role as president of Huawei's router and carrier Ethernet product line, according to LinkedIn, even though he has stepped into a senior role at one of Huawei's most interesting units.

HiSilicon manufactures chips used in many of Huawei's consumer devices and is increasingly positioning itself as an alternative to the likes of Qualcomm and Nvidia, a maker of graphics processing units, amid a clash with the US administration.

Huawei's opponents in the West say they are worried about the Chinese government's influence over the company and the possibility its products could include "backdoors" for Chinese spies. In recent weeks, Huawei's name has been added to a trade blacklist -- the so-called Entity List -- that prevents US companies from selling products to the firm without a special license.

The move means Huawei may no longer be able to obtain some of the valuable components used in network products. It also threatens the existence of smaller US component vendors that relied heavily on sales to Huawei.

While Huawei insists it would never hand information to the Chinese government -- and points to the lack of evidence about spyware -- it began stockpiling components last year in readiness for possible trade sanctions.

Striving to be more self-reliant, it has also ramped up spending on research and development and is channeling additional funds into HiSilicon.

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Light Reading. He Tingbo, HiSilicon's boss, sent an internal memo in May alluding to those plans, according to the UK's Financial Times newspaper, which claimed to have seen a copy of the memo. "All the spare tyres we have built have turned to Plan A overnight," she is said to have written cryptically. "Today, the circle of destiny turns to this extreme and dark moment, the Superpower has mercilessly interrupted the technical and industrial system of global co-operation, made the most insane decision, put Huawei into the Entity list with no founded basis." Gao's exact responsibilities at HiSilicon remain unclear, but he took up his role as president of the router business in May 2017 after a two-year stint as president of Huawei's transmission product line. Light Reading last caught up with him a year ago at a conference in Paris, where he said the company's latest networking solutions would allow telcos to operate with just a fraction of their current technical workforce. Staff numbers across major telcos have continued to fall since then, with Three UK -- a major Huawei customer -- recently announcing plans to cut two thirds of technology and operations jobs. Telco staff face crisis as cuts claim 127K jobs at big CSPs since 2015 Huawei Can Help Cut 90% of Networks Operations Jobs, Says Senior Exec CenturyLink Shed 6K Workers During Crash Course Diet Last Year Three UK to cut two thirds of tech jobs in digital makeover Vodafone UK Cut 7% of Jobs Last Year Telstra's Chief Executioner Hones His Axe RJio Lays Off 5K Employees – Report Ailing Telecom Italia Gets Serious About Cuts Telenor Chopped 10K Jobs Last Year, & It's Not Done Yet BT's Workforce: It's Not Shrinking as Fast as You Might Think AT&T, Time Warner Shed 11K Workers in First 9 Months of 2018 Ericsson Pain Is VEON Gain in Q1 — Iain Morris, International Editor, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Iain Morris

International Editor

Iain Morris joined Light Reading as News Editor at the start of 2015 -- and we mean, right at the start. His friends and family were still singing Auld Lang Syne as Iain started sourcing New Year's Eve UK mobile network congestion statistics. Prior to boosting Light Reading's UK-based editorial team numbers (he is based in London, south of the river), Iain was a successful freelance writer and editor who had been covering the telecoms sector for the past 15 years. His work has appeared in publications including The Economist (classy!) and The Observer, besides a variety of trade and business journals. He was previously the lead telecoms analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, and before that worked as a features editor at Telecommunications magazine. Iain started out in telecoms as an editor at consulting and market-research company Analysys (now Analysys Mason).

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