Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (; simplified Chinese: 华为; traditional Chinese: 華為; pinyin: Huáwéi) is a Chinese multinational technology company that provides telecommunications equipment and sells consumer electronics including smartphones, headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.
Ren Zhengfei, a former deputy director of the People's Liberation Army engineering corp, founded Huawei in 1987 in Shenzhen. The company reports that it had RMB 21,000 in registered capital at the time of its founding.
The company's first major breakthrough came in 1993, when it launched its C&C08 program controlled telephone switch. It was by far the most powerful switch available in China at the time. By initially deploying in small cities and rural areas and placing emphasis on service and customizability, the company gained market share and made its way into the mainstream market.
Huawei also gained a key contract to build the first national telecommunications network for the People's Liberation Army, a deal one employee described as "small in terms of our overall business, but large in terms of our relationships". In 1994, founder Ren Zhengfei had a meeting with Party general secretary Jiang Zemin, telling him that "switching equipment technology was related to national security, and that a nation that did not have its own switching equipment was like one that lacked its own military." Jiang reportedly agreed with this assessment.
Another major turning point for the company came in 1996, when the government in Beijing adopted an explicit policy of supporting domestic telecommunications manufacturers and restricting access to foreign competitors. Huawei was promoted by both the government and the military as a national champion, and established new research and development offices.
In 1997, Huawei won a contract to provide fixed-line network products to Hong Kong company Hutchison Whampoa. Later that year, Huawei launched its wireless GSM-based products and eventually expanded to offer CDMA and UMTS. In 1999, the company opened a research and development (R&D) center in Bangalore, India to develop a wide range of telecom software.
In July 2003, Huawei established their handset department and by 2004, Huawei shipped their first phone, the C300. The U626 was Huawei's first 3G phone in June 2005 and in 2006, Huawei launched the first Vodafone-branded 3G handset, the V710. The U8220 was Huawei's first Android smartphone and was unveiled in MWC 2009. At CES 2012, Huawei introduced the Ascend range starting with the Ascend P1 S. At MWC 2012, Huawei launched the Ascend D1. In September 2012, Huawei launched their first 4G ready phone, the Ascend P1 LTE. At CES 2013, Huawei launched the Ascend D2 and the Ascend Mate. At MWC 2013, the Ascend P2 was launched as the world's first LTE Cat4 smartphone. In June 2013, Huawei launched the Ascend P6 and in December 2013, Huawei introduced Honor as a subsidiary independent brand in China. At CES 2014, Huawei launched the Ascend Mate2 4G in 2014 and at MWC 2014, Huawei launched the MediaPad X1 tablet and Ascend G6 4G smartphone. Other launched in 2014 included the Ascend P7 in May 2014, the Ascend Mate7, the Ascend G7 and the Ascend P7 Sapphire Edition as China's first 4G smartphone with a sapphire screen.
In 2005, Huawei's foreign contract orders exceeded its domestic sales for the first time. Huawei signed a Global Framework Agreement with Vodafone. This agreement marked the first time a telecommunications equipment supplier from China had received Approved Supplier status from Vodafone Global Supply Chain. Huawei also signed a contract with British Telecom (BT) for the deployment of its multi-service access network (MSAN) and Transmission equipment for BT's 21st Century Network (21CN).
In May 2008, Australian carrier Optus announced that it would establish a technology research facility with Huawei in Sydney. In October 2008, Huawei reached an agreement to contribute to a new GSM-based HSPA+ network being deployed jointly by Canadian carriers Bell Mobility and Telus Mobility, joined by Nokia Siemens Networks. Huawei delivered one of the world's first LTE/EPC commercial networks for TeliaSonera in Oslo, Norway in 2009.
Ren Zhengfei is the founder and CEO of Huawei and has the power to veto any decisions made by the board of directors. Huawei disclosed its list of board of directors for the first time in 2010. Liang Hua is the current chair of the board. As of 2019 , the members of the board are Liang Hua, Guo Ping, Xu Zhijun, Hu Houkun, Meng Wanzhou, Ding Yun, Yu Chengdong, Wang Tao, Xu Wenwei, Chen Lifang, Peng Zhongyang, He Tingbo, Li Yingtao, Ren Zhengfei, Yao Fuhai, Tao Jingwen, and Yan Lida. Guo Ping is the Chairman of Huawei Device, Huawei's mobile phone division.
In July 2010, Huawei was included in the Global Fortune 500 2010 list published by the U.S. magazine Fortune for the first time, on the strength of annual sales of US$21.8 billion and net profit of US$2.67 billion.
Huawei announced its Enterprise business in January 2011 to provide network infrastructure, fixed and wireless communication, data center, and cloud computing solutions for global telecommunications customers.
In October 2012, it was announced that Huawei would move its UK headquarters to Green Park, Reading, Berkshire.
Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, is the world's largest telecom equipment maker and China's largest telephone-network equipment maker. In 2014, Huawei became the world's No. 1 applicant for international patents in 2014, with 3,442 patents.
In January 2015, Huawei discontinued the "Ascend" brand for its flagship phones, and launched the new P series with the Huawei P8. Huawei also partnered with Google to build the Nexus 6P in 2015.
In September 2017, Huawei created a NarrowBand IOT city-aware network using a "one network, one platform, N applications" construction model utilising IoT, cloud computing, big data, and other next-generation information and communications technology, it also aims to be one of the world's five largest cloud players in the near future.
As of the end of 2018, Huawei sold 200 million smartphones. They reported that strong consumer demand for premium range smart phones helped the company reach consumer sales in excess of $52 billion in 2018.
Huawei has been at the centre of espionage allegations over Chinese 5G network equipment. In 2018, the United States passed a defense funding bill that contained a passage barring the federal government from doing business with Huawei, ZTE, and several Chinese vendors of surveillance products, due to security concerns.
The current models in the P and Mate lines, the P30, P30 Pro, Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro and Mate 20 X were released in 2018 and 2019.
On 1 December 2018, Huawei vice-chairwoman and CFO Meng Wanzhou, daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada at the request of U.S. authorities. She faces extradition to the United States on charges of violating sanctions against Iran. 22 August 2018 arrest warrant was issued by the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Meng is "charged with conspiracy to defraud multiple international institutions", according to the prosecutor. The warrant was based on allegations of a conspiracy to defraud banks which were clearing money that was claimed to be for Huawei, but was actually for Skycom, an entity claimed to be entirely controlled by Huawei, which was said to be dealing in Iran, contrary to sanctions. None of the allegations have been proven in court. On 11 December 2018, Meng Wanzhou was released on bail.
Huawei is considering opening a new research and development (R&D) center in Russia (2019/2020), which would be the third in the country after the Moscow and St. Petersburg R&D centers. Huawei also announced plans (November 2018) to open an R&D centre in the French city of Grenoble, which would be mainly focused on smartphone sensors and parallel computing software development. The new R&D team in Grenoble was expected to grow to 30 researchers by 2020, said the company. The company said that this new addition brought to five the number of its R&D teams in the country: two were located in Sophia Antipolis and Paris, researching image processing and design, while the other two existing teams were based at Huawei's facilities in Boulogne-Billancourt, working on algorithms and mobile and 5G standards. The technology giant also intended to open two new research centres in Zürich and Lausanne, Switzerland. Huawei at the time employed around 350 people in Switzerland. ,
In December 2018, Huawei's vice-chairperson and CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on 1 December 2018, at the request of the United States, which accuses her of violating US sanctions against Iran. The U.S. Department of Justice filed formal charges of fraud, obstruction of justice, and theft of trade secrets against Huawei in January 2019.
On 28 January 2019, U.S. federal prosecutors formally indicted Meng Wanzhou and Huawei with thirteen counts of bank and wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and misappropriating trade secrets. The Department also filed a formal extradition request for Meng with Canadian authorities that same day. Huawei responded to the charges and that it "denies that it or its subsidiary or affiliate have committed any of the asserted violations", as well as asserted Meng was similarly innocent. The China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology believed the charges brought on by the United States were "unfair".
Google issued a statement assuring that user access to Google Play on existing Huawei devices would not be disrupted. Huawei made a similar pledge of continued support for existing devices, including security patches, but did not make any statements regarding the availability of future Android versions (such as the upcoming Android "Q"). On 20 May 2019, the Department of Commerce granted Google a temporary, three-month license to continue doing business with Huawei, so that it could continue to provide software and security patches for its existing devices without interruption whilst long-term solutions are determined.
On 15 May 2019, U.S. president Donald Trump issued an executive order invoking the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, giving the government power to restrict any transactions with "foreign adversaries" that involve information and communications technology. Trump made no specific reference to China, Huawei, or any other party, but emphasized that these adversaries posed "unacceptable risks" to national security. The same day, also citing its violations of Iran sanctions, the Department of Commerce added Huawei and 70 "affiliates" to its entity list under the Export Administration Regulations. This restricts U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei without a government license.
On 22 May 2019, Arm Holdings also suspended its business with Huawei, including all "active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements". Although it is a Japanese-owned company based in the UK, Arm cited that its intellectual property contained technologies of U.S. origin that it believed were covered under the Department of Commerce order. This prevents Huawei from manufacturing chips under the ARM architecture.
On 23 May 2019, the SD Association revoked Huawei's membership to the association, as a direct result of Huawei being added to the entity list. This means Huawei will no longer be able to sell phones capable of using MicroSD cards. On the same day, Toshiba suspended all shipments to Huawei, as a temporary measure while Toshiba detemines whether or not U.S. made components or technologies are being sold to Huawei by Toshiba.