Huawei founder gives first ever media interview

May 09, 2013 by Nick Perry
In this photo released by Huawei Technologies Co., Ren Zhengfei, CEO and founder of Huawei based in Shenzhen, China, smiles during his meeting with local media Thursday, May 9, 2013 in Wellington, New Zealand. Ren said the company is committed to bringing value and contributing to New Zealand's digital economy. (AP Photo/Huawei Technologies Co.)

During 26 years at the helm of Chinese tech giant Huawei, founder Ren Zhengfei has never once agreed to be interviewed by a journalist. Until Thursday.

During a visit to the company's New Zealand operations, Ren sat down with four local journalists at a Wellington hotel. The rules were strict: no international media, no photos.

But the meaning was clear. Huawei is taking steps toward trying to dispel its image as a secretive and opaque company, and to reassure the world of its good intentions.

The company has suffered business setbacks in the U.S. and Australia due to fears it could be a . Last October, a U.S. congressional panel recommended avoid doing business with it. Huawei issued a pledge not to cooperate with spying, and argues the U.S. is engaging in trade protectionism.

Huawei has grown rapidly in developing countries and is increasing its sales in Europe. Last year, it reported a $2.4 billion profit on sales of $35 billion.

Ren, 68, a former Chinese military engineer, declined through spokesman Scott Sykes to be interviewed by The Associated Press. Sykes said Ren felt more comfortable with a small group of journalists and chose New Zealand to break his silence because he has strong, about the country "in his heart."

In his interview, Ren, speaking through an , told reporters his company's relationship with the was no different from that between companies from other countries and their governments, according to a report by Fairfax Media.

Ren said he was confident no member of Huawei's staff would engage in spying, even if asked to by Chinese . He said he'd joined the Communist Party in 1978 when it was expected all "exceptional" people would do so.

"At that time my personal belief was to work hard, dedicate myself or even sacrifice myself for the benefit of the people," he said, according to Fairfax Media. "Joining the Communist Party was in line with that aspiration."

Sykes said the company is trying to tell its story and dispel misinformation. He said that's particularly important as Huawei moves from doing business only with other phone companies toward selling products such as smartphones directly to consumers.

New Zealand was the first developed country to sign a free trade agreement with China in 2008 and has developed close economic ties since then.

Huawei employs about 120 people in New Zealand. Last year it won a contract to work on the country's broadband infrastructure—something it was denied in neighboring Australia—and this year it won a contract to help build a mobile network.

Ren owns 1.4 percent of Huawei. Forbes magazine last year estimated his wealth at $475 million.

Explore further: MasterCard, Zwipe announce fingerprint-sensor card

3 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Chinese tech giant calls for cyber cooperation

Jun 23, 2012

(AP) — The founder of Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei, which has faced security concerns in the U.S. and Australia, is calling for global cooperation to improve data protection.

China's Huawei says to spend $2.0 billion in Britain

Sep 12, 2012

Chinese communications giant Huawei Technologies on Wednesday said it would invest $2.0 billion (1.5 billion euros) in Britain and roughly double its workforce in the country within five years.

Huawei calls for cybersecurity cooperation

Sep 05, 2012

(AP)—Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies has released a report on cybersecurity that includes a pledge never to cooperate with spying in a fresh effort to allay security concerns in the United States and ...

Huawei's global ambitions come under a cloud (Update)

Oct 09, 2012

Chinese telecom firm Huawei's ambitions to become a global brand rivalling Apple and Samsung have been hit by a US report claiming that the company, founded by a former Chinese soldier, posed an espionage ...

China's Huawei seeks US government probe

Feb 25, 2011

Chinese telecom giant Huawei on Friday urged the US government to investigate the company, arguing "unfounded accusations" and "falsehoods" had jeopardised its operations in the United States.

Recommended for you

MasterCard, Zwipe announce fingerprint-sensor card

Oct 18, 2014

On Friday, MasterCard and Oslo, Norway-based Zwipe announced the launch of a contactless payment card featuring an integrated fingerprint sensor. Say goodbye to PINs. This card, they said, is the world's ...

Apple starts iPhone 6 sales in key China market

Oct 17, 2014

Apple began selling its latest iPhone in China Friday, nearly a month after other major territories due to a licence delay by regulators, but it faces a tough battle with rivals led by Samsung in the crucial ...

Microsoft CEO launches diversity training effort

Oct 17, 2014

(AP)—Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has again apologized to employees and announced in a company-wide memo that all workers will receive expanded training on how to foster an inclusive culture as he works to repair damage ...

Arguments made in ex-dictator's suit against game

Oct 17, 2014

(AP)—A judge has heard arguments from lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani calling for the dismissal of a lawsuit filed against video game giant Activision by former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.

User comments : 0