Chinese technology giant Huawei remains near the top of the news cycle, and in the cross hairs of US-China diplomatic and trade relations.
Founded in 1987 and headquartered in Guangdong, the company started manufacturing phone switches before expanding into telecommunications networks and communications devices. Today, its portfolio stretches from infrastructure and smart devices to cloud services and artificial intelligence. Here are five things to know about the company.
1. It’s grown incredibly quickly
Huawei has seen stellar growth in both revenue and operating profit. Annual revenue jumped almost 20% in 2018.
2. It’s not just in China
That growth wasn’t just in China or in Asia – the company is growing on every continent on which it operates - and in double digits.
3. It spends heavily on R&D
Huawei has described innovation as its “lifeblood” and has committed to investing 10% of its annual revenue in research and development. In 2018, the company spent more than ¥100 billion (or roughly $14 billion) on R&D, meaning it ranked fifth globally in the 2018 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, after Samsung, Google parent firm Alphabet, Volkswagen and Microsoft. All that spending has translated into a huge number of patents, making Huawei one of the largest holders in the world.
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4. Its market share is massive
Huawei ended 2018 with a 31% market share in the global mobile infrastructure market. Ericsson was second with 27%, followed by Nokia with 22%.
5. It ships more handsets than Apple
Huawei’s move into the smartphone market is paying off, with the firm shipping more handsets than Apple in 2018, helping to power its overall growth.
Huawei has become the poster child for Chinese technology growth and innovation. At the same time, some governments around the world have expressed concerns over the company's size, power and closeness to the Chinese government.
The US government has blacklisted Huawei, which is building many super-fast 5G networks, on national security grounds. However, US President Donald Trump appeared to backtrack somewhat on banning Huawei completely from the US after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 meeting in Japan in late June.
The world's two biggest economies have been embroiled in a trade war that could cost the global economy up to $600 billion by 2021. It remains to be seen whether the US and China can reach a broader agreement over trade and Huawei's role in the US market - but the Chinese technology giant is, nonetheless, likely to remain a dominant global player for some time to come.