Huawei is a Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and services company headquartered in Guangdong, China. Founded in 1987, the company originally focused on manufacturing phone switches, but since then has expanded its operations to building telecommunications networks and manufacturing communications devices. Huawei works with some of the world’s largest telecoms operators, counting British Telecom (BT), Vodafone, Orange, and T-Mobile among its notable partners. This continued success has made the company the most valuable telecom infrastructure brand worldwide with an estimated brand value of more than 65 billion U.S. dollars.
Financial and ownership structure
Until 2021, Huawei’s revenue has consistently increased since 2007, and has been breaking its own revenue record every year. The company is split into three core business segments – carrier network business, enterprise business, and consumer business. Its carrier network business is the company’s most lucrative segment, with the consumer business sector being the second most profitable one. Although Huawei has developed into a global company, a large proportion of its revenue is still generated from its domestic market. As of 2019, the Middle East and Africa are the second largest and most important markets for the company, generating revenue of over 180 billion yuan for Huawei since 2020.
Unlike many of its competitors, Huawei is not a shareholder-owned company but instead is controlled by its employees. Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. is a subsidiary of Huawei Investment & Holding which has two shareholders, Huawei’s labor union and the company’s founder Ren Zhengfei. The Trade Union Committee of Huawei and its over 121 thousand participating employees hold 98.99 percent of shares of Huawei Investment & Holding. Employees exert control through the election of 115 representatives who form a commission and the representatives commission selects the members of the Board of Directors and Supervisory Board.
Huawei's products and technology
Although Huawei supplies many white-label products for other content-service providers, it also produces and sells a variety of devices under its own name. As of the fourth quarter of 2021, the company held a share of under eight percent of the global smartphone market, selling more than 32 million smartphones in the 4th quarter of 2020. Inside China, Huawei has been the vendor with the highest smartphone market share since 2017. However, the company was facing increasing competition globally and domestically in 2020 losing market share and recording lower sales in its consumer business segment.
Without a doubt, 5G technology will be the next big step in the telecommunication sector and Huawei has positioned itself at the forefront of this trend. This is evident from the company’s focus on developing 5G infrastructure technology, as well as 5G smartphones. Globally, Huawei has filled the most 5G patents among all telecommunication companies. In China, 5G smartphones from Huawei have a market share of over 55 percent and 60 percent of 5G base stations were manufactured by Huawei. However, as a result of international backlash against the company due to its ownership structure and alleged proximity to China’s communist party, Huawei faced difficulties exporting its technology internationally.
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