China’s Huawei

NYTimes writes about the Chinese company that is taking on Cisco with its “affordable” telecom products:

With dozens of sleek stone and glass buildings that would not look out of place in Silicon Valley, the expanding campus houses many of the 10,000 engineers working to establish Huawei as China’s first international player in the communications equipment business…In a tough market, its domestic sales grew by a third in the first half of the year, and analysts expect international sales to grow from $550 million last year to $1 billion this year and $1.4 billion next year.

Started on an investment of $1,000, Huawei began by selling imported telephone call switchers before turning to making them itself. Huawei grew rapidly by first focusing on the poor, rural regions ignored by larger companies and then, taking advantage of China’s rapid upgrading of its communications infrastructure, entered more lucrative cities like Shanghai and Beijing.

“Because the development here has been so rapid, there have been many opportunities for us to develop new products,” said Xu Wenwei, the executive vice president for international marketing. “That’s how we were able to move from the margins to the center.”

Its product line expanded from telephone exchange equipment to fiber optic networks, mobile telephone technology and data routing systems. Huawei’s critics claim, however, that its growth was also fueled by a fast and loose attitude toward the intellectual property of rivals.

Huawei has an R&D centre in Bangalore and has also been making some inroads in the Indian market.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.