By Jason Hines on June 3, 2009
A very typical analytic task is to understand a company. It can be based on the desire to invest in the company, audit the company, compete with the company, help the company as a supplier or consultant, etc. etc. We can clearly use resources such as corporate websites, Wikipedia, newspapers, or specialized research reports (be it technical, financial, etc.) – but if I’m less interested in reading the corporate “propaganda” or it’s P&L statement – and more interested in what the company is doing, have been doing, and in particular, is thinking about doing – then the classic research approaches are at best cumbersome, at worst very hard to complete.
We’ll take a look at Huawei Technologies Co. and try to understand what they have in their sights.
First we’d like to understand at high level where Huawei is active – as in showing up in the global media flow. Clearly they have operations in probably every country around the world – but more interesting would be to understand where recent activity has been.
Looking across time using news analytics, we can see that media flow peaked in April/May. Interestingly enough, half the news flow is from blogs. However doing the same analysis with Ericsson reveals that the amount of blog posting materials is about the same for them.
Upcoming technology deployments
We may be interested in upcoming Huawei technology deployments for a series of reasons – including competitive analysis, market research, and understanding their business momentum and impact on technical telecom infrastructure.
Exploring business relations of Huawei with dates into the future we find that they have recently won contract to build a mobile network for cable operator Cox Communications but is also a frontrunner for Clearwire’s Wimax network expansion – that would cover 120 million people by 2010. They are deploying a commercial LTE network in Oslo, expected to launch in 2010. Huawei is working with Ericsson on a 4G LTE network, expected to go live in 2010 with deployments in Stockholm and Oslo. In general the company expects their sales of Wimax equipment to reach US$1 billion on orders from emerging markets in 2010. In March Huawei won a contract to install a underwater telecom cable between Kelibia in Tunisia and Mazara in Italy for Tunisie Telecom.
Huawei is known to have unknown(!) relationships with Chinese banks and government – for example China Development Bank (only bank in China whose governor is a full minister) recently opened $300 mln credit for MegaFon (Russia) to buy Huawei Technologies equipment.
In addition they’ve certainly won a whole host of contracts this year alone, but with no stated deployment date – in Turkey, Ghana, Cambodia, Bosnia, Nigeria, Vietnam (through Vietnamese military-owned telco Viettel), Latin America – very much across the developing world – but less so in eastablished western world. Recent developments in India regarding whether Huawei’s infrastructure is a security concern mirrors the concerns about Huawei’s 3Com acquisition in the US.
Technology, acquisitions, partnerships
In terms of technology developments we can quickly find that Huawai is using the Google Android operating system and is also planning to deploy more models in 2010. Likewise when searching for who has made comments on Huawei we find “Symbian was seeing increasing interest toward its software from Chinese and Taiwanese companies, and was already in close talks with China’s Huawei…”. Huawei signed a collaboration with Infineon of Germany recently, with the intent of Huawei using Infineon chipsets.
Generally though we find when exploring business relations entered into by Huawei, we mostly see customer agreements, less so partnerships with other vendors.
For being a global, aggressive, company Huawei has been surprisingly non acquisitative. They tried to take a stake in 3Com jointly with Bain back in 2007, but in the end game the deal fell through. In 2003 Huawei created a joint venture with 3Com for internet based protocols – but in 2008 sold their stake in H3Cto 3Com. In 2007 Huawei and Symantec entered into a joint venture on computer security, and the same year Global Marine and Huawei entered into a joint venture on submarine communication. Current rumors has it that Huawei may be looking to buy portions of both Motorola and Nortel.
For being a major, global, corporation the CEO of Huawei, Ren Zhenfei, is known to be very much out of the lime light. Quotations such as “…Money Morning reported that Huawei’s “highly reclusive CEO, Ren Zhengfei, is a former officer in the People’s Liberation Army…” are not unusual. However, he’s also supposed to be very powerful in China – exploring we find: “Huawei chairman Ren Zhengfei does not talk to the mayor of Shenzhen, he talks directly to (Chinese) Premier Wen Jiabao. His relationship with the central government is very strong”. Searching for Ren Zhenfei we find more or less nothing, and we can confirm this in Google News. The chief marketing officer of Huawei, Hu Zhijun, is completely out of the news.
Exploring employment relations and changes in employment relations with Huawei doesn’t find very much at all. Whereas the company publishes case studies about their rank and file employees on their website, nothing is published in terms of management. We do find a news piece on the new COO of Huawei India.
We have explored some interesting aspects of Huawei to get a sense of what the streaming web and time based analysis can tell us about a corporation, especially a reclusive one that otherwise is hard to penetrate.
As always, we welcome your comments below!