London calling

Zheng w

One of China’s most enigmatic business executives came out of the shadows last week to hold a press conference in Britain’s capital. Huawei’s founder and boss Ren Zhengfei said the move was designed to rid the company of its “mysterious” image.

So what did he say? On the operational side, Ren promised to beef up the telecoms equipment firm’s R&D in Europe and hire more senior Western executives. Pointedly, he also denied having any interest in taking Huawei public. “In reality, shareholders [of public companies] are greedy and want to squeeze every bit out of a company as soon as possible,” he said. “People who own this company [i.e. the staff] are not greedy. Not listing on the stock market is one of the reasons we have overtaken peers.” On the contentious issue of the company’s sales in the US – which he described as a “great nation” – Ren took a similarly long-term view: “I believe at the end of the day it might take 10 or 20 years for the US to know that Huawei is a company with integrity and a good face. We will have opportunities then.”

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