By K T Chacko/Dy Managing Editor/Shenzhen/Beijing
In about three decades since its inception, Huawei, the Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company has grown into the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world.
From its humble beginnings with a capital of a few thousand dollars, Huawei, headquartered in Shenzhen, has grown into a telecommununications giant that now serves more than one-third of the world population.
The secret of Huawei's success is its core competencies which are built upon its core values - Customers first, Dedication and Perseverance.
Proudly touted as privately held and employee-owned, the company employs more than 1,70,000 knowledge workers with about half of them engaged in research and development (R&D) work.
No wonder, Huawei treats its workforce as its greatest asset and adheres to some of the best human resource management practices, which take precedence over technology and capital.
Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei is a living legend, a visionary, who started this great organisation with a small investment of $3,500. Now Huawei has grown to become more than a $61bn company, employing thousands of people in multiple geographies.
Zhengfei believes Huawei only exists to serve its customers, or in other words to win customers, an organisation has to better satisfy the customers' needs and create value for them.
A Huawei lab housing a test facility
The frontal view of the Huawei R&D headquarters in Dongguan
A Huawei assembly line
According to him, value is created by optimum utilisation of human resources. "Resources can be exhausted; only culture endures. Huawei does not have any natural resources to depend upon. What we do have is the brain power of our employees. This is our oil, our forest, and our coal. Human ingenuity is the creator of all wealth."
He believes the most valuable resources that an enterprise can ever have are people as they have huge potential to create value.
By maintaining fast-paced growth, Huawei provides its employees with opportunities for personal development. Their increasing profits enable them to compensate employees generously and attract global talent.
Huawei believes that to achieve growth, an enterprise must create results for its customers, capital providers and employees. So the company focuses on satisfying customer needs, and cultivate employees who are passionate and work hard to meet these needs. It believes value is created through labour, knowledge, entrepreneurship and capital.
A results driven company, Huawei's efforts are focused on generating business returns. Its corporate culture is based on providing quality service that earns customers' trust.
To stay ahead of competition Huawei has been investing heavily in research with as much as 10% of the total revenue being channelled back into developing cutting edge technologies which the company thinks can better serve its customers' needs.
Huawei's success can be attributed to its management philosophy that is based on global innovation philosophy. As a result, Huawei has established Research and Development centres in many countries across the world. An innovation friendly Research & Development- oriented organisation, Huawei has been spending more than 10% of its sales for R&D for the last 10 years.
Initially, Huawei focused on manufacturing phone switches, but has since expanded its business to include building telecommunications networks, providing operational and consulting services and equipment to enterprises inside and outside of China, and manufacturing communications devices for the consumer market.
It has about two dozen R&D institutes in countries including China, the United States,Canada, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Finland, France, Belgium, Germany, Colombia, Sweden, Ireland, India, Russia, Israel, and Turkey.
Huawei is setting up a whole township dedicated to research and development in Dongguan, where all its buildings are modelled on European architecture and style to spur the creative urge of the talented workforce who are expected to join the "centre of excellence" from all corners of the globe. Among the attractions are state-of-the-art laboratories, a rail service that connects the different units in the sprawling complex, and recreational facilities.
Apart from Shenzhen and Dongguan, Huawei has a massive Device Laboratory in Beijing as a part of the Beijing Research Centre that consists of 23 labs of 9 types, spread over an area of 10,000 square meters.
Equipped with 7,000+cutting edge core devices, the lab supports more than 250 types of authentication tests. The lab is capable of conducting two tests unique in China and has industry leading capabilities for 280 tests.
Among the leading facilities at the complex are Automation Test Centre, Reliability laboratory, Antenna laboratory, Communication Protocol Test laboratory and Audio laboratory.
The Device Automation Test Centre is equipped with more than 800 professional test devices , developed by Huawei. It is capable of testing 5,000 mobile phones simultaneously , whose efficiency is equal to that of 10,000 people working 24x7.
The company has contributed to the development and economic growth of the city where it is based -Shenzhen, which according to the latest reports has an economy bigger than that of Hong Kong. Shenzhen is also known as the Silicon Valley of China.
Huawei presently has three divisions – Consumer Business Group, Carrier Network Business Group, and Enterprise Business group – connecting one third of the world population.
For the last six years, it has been the fastest growing global brand it its category.
In recent years, Huawei has become a popular international brand outside China; its brand awareness has grown 330% and it has registered a phenomenal 2000% increase in brand consideration overseas.
Besides China, Huawei's consumer products are now leading in north-west Europe, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore while it has a significant market share in other countries and regions including the Middle East.
Huawei aims to help customers realise their vision in the field of information and communications ; and to become a world leader through hard work and perseverance.
Huawei has launched high-end devices that are gradually helping it to become a premium smartphone brand. The company uses its own chips for high-end product lines, exerting better control over market timing and smartphone performance.
Huawei Mate 10 Pro, the mobile phone with four cameras co-engineered with the famed German firm Leica and the world’s first KIRIN artificial intelligence processor, has received rave reviews. The coveted handset provides a faster, stronger, and seamless smartphone experience.
As all of the company’s smartphones use chips from Huawei, it can offer batteries that can last for days and encrypted features popular with business executives.
Its products and services have been deployed in more than 170 countries and it currently serves 45 of the world's 50 largest telecom operators.
According to sources, Huawei has surpassed Apple and become the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the world after Samsung.
With releases of all the P series, it is starting to entrench itself as a high-end brand. The long-term plan for Huawei is to become the most beloved brand for global consumers.
Analysts say Huawei is very well positioned to take a crack at the high-end segment with the group’s financial and technology strength. With a management style worth emulating, Huawei is destined to scale new heights in its pursuit of excellence.
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