Ren Zhengfei (任正非) is the founder of China’s Huawei—the world’s second-largest telecom equipment maker and now the world’s second largest selling phone company, just behind its South Korean counterpart—Samsung.
In 1987, Ren founded Huawei with about 21,000 yuan—worth about $5,000. The corporation has enjoyed tremendous success over the past few years, becoming a key global player in the telecommunications sector.
The company not only makes telecom equipment, but it has also ventured into manufacturing smartphones, a sector where it has gained a significant market share.
“At Huawei, we often talk about the term of ‘Van Fleet Load,’ which was invented by a general of the US army,” Ren told CNBC. “We invest heavily in our focus area. At first, this focus approach let us start pulling ahead of our Western peers in a given area. And then, once we had established some market presence, we began to build up capital. But our strategy of focused investment never changed as our capital grew. We remained focused on this same single point. Gradually, we have become a leader in this narrow, focused area.”
However, fears about the company’s ties with the Chinese military have frequently surfaced, not the least because of Ren’s past. He joined the Communist Party in 1978 and is a former member of the People’s Liberation Army. There have been concerns and allegations that Huawei was helping China gather information on foreign states and companies, charges that the firm has denied.
In 2005, TIME listed Ren as one of the world’s 100 most influential people.Tags: Asia, Huawei, telecommunications
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