March 14, 2019, Shenzhen, China
Norman Pearlstine, Executive Editor, LA Times: First of all, I want to thank you very much for taking the time to meet with us. I realize you have been, in these last two months, I think you may have spoken to more journalists than you have spoken to in many decades together. If it is okay with you, I would prefer not to repeat the questions that I have read in transcripts with the BBC, with other foreign correspondents. If you are comfortable with what you told them, those being your feelings, I would rather try to ask some different kinds of questions. So I would first like to ask about how you think about the future, and then some questions about how Huawei grew from 1987 until now, and then some questions about where the industry is likely to be going on as opposed to just Huawei.
Ren: I'm more than okay with those questions, we have plenty of time. Let's try doing this Q&A style so you can ask the questions one by one and I will answer them one by one. If we don't have enough time for all your questions this morning, I can reschedule my meeting in the afternoon and we can keep going after the lunch break.
Norman Pearlstine: Well, that is very generous of you and we will try not to abuse your hospitality and your generous offer.
Ren: Feel free to ask whatever question you might have, no matter how hard they are. I'll be honest. More often than not, the trickiest questions are the ones that help create understanding.
Q1 Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: Let's take a minute to talk about the most recent development with the decision to go to a federal court in Texas to try to compel the United States government to behave in a different way. I know you have spoken about wanting to leave discussion of the lawsuit itself to the courts and not to the press. But I would love to understand the motivation for the litigation. Why bring a lawsuit? Commentators have suggested this would be a difficult mitigation or lawsuit to be successful in the court of law, which made me wonder whether the motivation was to appeal to a court of public opinion, and or whether was to try to get a better understanding of why the United States government has been such a persistent critic of Huawei.
Ren: The United States has been attacking Huawei for over 10 years now. No matter how minor the issue they wanted to bring up was, they would rally multiple government departments and agencies to create an overwhelming campaign.
We have done everything that we can to remain silent and tolerant. But being tolerant does not mean we are numb. Being silent does not mean we are cowards.
In the past, we encountered multiple types of lawsuits and litigations, but with other US businesses, not with the US government.
The US government has passed a bill to single Huawei out without any executive or judicial process. If the law is likely to go into effect in August, we will face restrictions. So we have to make our voice heard now. We have a very strong legal base for this. We very deliberately and thoroughly considered all our options before we took this action.
If we win this case, it would prove the greatness of the US legal system. The whole world would be able to see the system's fairness and greatness. Even if we lose the case, the evidence that will be presented by the U.S. Government during the trial will prove Huawei doesn't have these alleged problems.
Maybe the United States won't actually be able to modify the law, but they won't be able to keep claiming that Huawei was a company with problems.
Whatever the result, I believe, this will put all the questions to an end.
Q2 Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: If you had to predict, one year from now, five years from now, will Huawei have a business presence in the United States and is it important to have a business presence in the United States? I was looking at your financial performance for the first two months of this year compared to a year ago and it seems that you are doing very well without being in the United States. I recognize, of course, that being blacklisted could have implications outside of the United States as well as in it.
Ren: We are not necessarily seeking a business presence in the United States. But at the very least, we should tell the truth. The United States is a very powerful nation. When they speak, many people listen. If we do not speak up and tell the truth, there may be misconceptions about us.
Q3 Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: Do you feel that you should have been speaking up years ago? Or have things changed so much in the West since this new administration has come in, that you now feel more need than say, 7 or 8 years ago?
Ren: For Huawei as a company, we tend to remain silent. Show patience. It's not easy to show who we truly are, not just in the United States but here in China as well. China for the most part is a socialist country, but the way we organize ourselves within Huawei is capitalist in nature, with our employees investing in the company. The majority of our employees earn more than average for Chinese people. Yet in China, underprivileged people still account for two-thirds of the population. In that context, if we overly promote ourselves in China, it might have the opposite effect. That's why we have chosen to stay focused, pretty much entirely on our business, so that our customers are happier and give us more contracts. Employees who don't want to work hard but still want to make more money will be sifted out.
When we expanded our business outside of China, the outside world seemed to think that Huawei was a representative of China or some sort of communist company. So they grabbed a stick and beat us on the head. Here in China, we also get the switch, but this time on our butts. They called us capitalists back then. We were struggling to survive. Against this backdrop, we decided it's best to keep a low profile. We have bitten our tongues until our patience wore thin. The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act in the United States has compelled us to make our voice heard.
So back to your question, why didn't we step up or speak up in the past? Because we can't remain silent anymore. We need to speak up now.
Q4 Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: We have a saying in the United States that sometimes people sometimes mistake kindness for softness. So if I understand, well, when I have been interested in Huawei for a very long time because I first worked in California in the 70s when companies like Intel were just beginning to grow. And so I read the Rand report from 2005. I read the house committee report from 2012 which seems to quote the Rand report from 2005. I now see what a government is saying in 2019, and it seems like it is the same information as I read 14 years ago. It at least tries to make a case that Huawei is an extension of the Chinese government. Yet, when I speak to some of the people who have worked with you for a very long time, and when I read about your earliest time, it seems like the government was not your friend when you began Huawei. That you were having to compete against government owned enterprises. Chinese government, you were competing against. Even as ZTE is a majority government owned, or very close to it. But today it seems like the Chinese government has embraced you, has talked about competencies and has been very public in criticizing US and Canadian governments. In some ways it seems like the Chinese government's embrace of Huawei may do more harm than good. And I wonder if that's a fair characterization. Because I do think of you as a capitalist company just as I thought that Deng Xiaoping was encouraging enterprises when he was the head of state to behave the way Huawei behaves.
Ren: Silence does not mean cowardice and tolerance does not mean apathy. But this time, we're resorting to legal procedures to hopefully clear up the doubts or questions that people may have. If issues surrounding Huawei are addressed during negotiations between China and the United States, potential risks might arise. Because you never know if a new Member of Congress might bring up the old story and claim that it is not clearly explained yet. That would bring us back to the same situation we're in today, dealing with lawsuits one after another. And that's where we hope that a more thorough approach will clear up all of this misunderstanding and let the court decide, so that in the future we won't need to revisit the same old story.
Therefore, to sustain Huawei's development over the next twenty or thirty years, we have to resort to legal means to elucidate and then clarify any doubts that people have. The Chinese government takes action to protect the legitimate rights and interests of their people. In this context, those actions are understandable and reasonable.
In light of the overwhelming campaign of the United States, it's necessary for the Chinese government to make its voice heard. I can see how this may have negative consequences regarding our global reputation. But whether it's in the United States or Canada, we choose to take legal actions. We believe both the American and Canadian courts are open and transparent. Once all evidence is presented to the courts and to the media, the facts will be clear.
So on the one hand, people are seeing what the Chinese government does. On the other, they see Huawei take the legal road. These two actions are not related. Last year, we paid 90.5 billion yuan in tax in China. If the Chinese government remains silent or does not express its support for its high-performing enterprises that pay taxes and are being unfairly treated, the United States might target other big Chinese companies. We have seen this happen with other countries, such as Alstom from France and Toshiba from Japan. So the US government does not have a one-hundred-percent clean reputation in this regard, and I think it is understandable that the Chinese government voices its opinions.
Q5 Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: So I don't know about these other cases that you mentioned. But it does seem to me, I cannot recall any case in recent decades where the United States government has been so persistent in its efforts to attack a foreign corporation. I know that especially in the world of telecommunications, the national interest maybe, and business interest can collide, but do you think that the United States is really trying to damage Huawei or is the United States trying to damage China?
Ren: I think the US right now is actually helping drive sales for Huawei, and increase our influence. As a private company, we didn't have this much influence before, and we do not have a high social status. Now, thanks to this massive campaign that the United States has started, more companies go online to check out what kind of company Huawei truly is. This helps drive up our sales.
Norman Pearlstine: So all publicity is good publicity?
Ren: That's what is happening externally. Those are very high-profile US officials that are essentially running a publicity campaign for Huawei. I also want people to know about how positively this has impacted Huawei internally.
Norman Pearlstine: It's surprising because if it is so positive, why bring the lawsuit?
Ren: A famous person once said that the easiest way to bring down a fortress is from within, and the easiest way to reinforce a fortress is from outside. How do we interpret this?
After 30 years of dedication, a large number of people within Huawei are pretty rich. But their spirit of hard work and dedication is dying out. Even the people you see sitting here with us are very rich. They may not be willing to go on assignment in Africa or go install base stations on Mount Everest. They don't want to go to the places that are stricken by AIDS or Ebola. I think our organization is slacking off.
Norman Pearlstine: Is it because it has got so big?
Ren: Not necessarily. It is because our employees are getting richer. Especially in our HQ here in Shenzhen, we see a large number of senior executives and highly-paid employees. As a matter of fact, many of those people may not be needed anymore because our business operations have matured.
The company has been calling for more streamlined business management and operations, yet it has not been successful. If this continues, Huawei will also probably start to decline after growing for another 30 years, like many other Western companies.
Yet, with this pressure from the United States, the majority of our people are in crisis-mode. If we do not change our organization or streamline our structure, there will be no other way out.
This pressure has pushed Huawei to be more united. It has nurtured a new spirit of hard work and dedication in our employees. That has provided us with an opportunity to remove surplus managers. Some of our generals might be sent back to the front lines to act as soldiers again; we won't keep them as company commanders. Our current front line commanders have worked extremely hard for many years to earn their positions. How could we send someone from headquarters to take their positions?
This is just like if you and I tried to go back to elementary school right now. I guess it would only take 10 minutes to finish all the work we did in first grade, 20 minutes for second grade, and 30 minutes for third grade. It would maybe take less than a day to graduate from elementary school. It would only take two days, to graduate from middle and high school. Three days maybe for undergraduate. Maybe we would only need a month to get a PhD.
Executives have the experience and capabilities needed to fight for the opportunity to excel, even if they're assigned to an entry-level position on the front line. That would be much better than directly appointing them to a managerial position on the front line. This is good for everyone.
Of course, this kind of change can't happen overnight. We think it's going to take three to five years for us to finish this transformation. If that can be done successfully, we can reduce management costs at headquarters by several billion dollars. Our expected sales revenue five years down the road will be between 260 billion and 300 billion US dollars. The US government has provided us with the catalyst for this change. If you had the opportunity to meet with Mike Pompeo or Mike Pence, do bring my thanks to them. I'm serious.
Norman Pearlstine: I promise to do that.
Ren: If they come to visit China, if they are willing to meet with me, I would be more than happy to host them. I'd roll out the whole welcome wagon.
If an egg cracks from the inside, you have a chicken. But we're not an egg, our shell is not that delicate. We are made of iron. If you apply enough external pressure to iron, you can forge even stronger alloys. Our business grew by 35.8% year-on-year in the first two months of this year.
Now why did we file this lawsuit? I hope the US government can provide evidence to show the world what kind of a company Huawei truly is. My primary concerns have been that the company is slacking off and our employees are getting complacent. Now, this external pressure makes me excited, because I can use it to change our company.
Q6 Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: Many thoughts as I was listening to you. We have a saying in adversity, "that which does not kill me makes me stronger". But there's high risk, of course, when you take this course because you have to be sure that it will not kill you. I understand what you're saying about needing to strengthen a company that might be getting a little complacent with so much success, but it sounds almost like you are advocating a cultural revolution, almost the Gang of Four, for Huawei. I don't think that's really what you mean though, is it? In terms of going back to be re-educated?
Ren: Nobody can develop a thick skin without scars. Throughout history, heroes have come from hardship. This is not a cultural revolution. In any company, employees that are left behind will have to leave. There is something different at Huawei, though. Employees who meet certain criteria can choose to keep their company shares in order to support themselves.
Our employees are actually happy if we streamline our organization and transfer them to our major business teams. For example, two years ago, we disbanded one department that was working on software. It had 10,000 employees, and had spent around 10 billion US dollars on R&D without delivering any compelling products. Therefore, we decided to restructure this department. At the time, we were concerned that some employees might be unhappy, and even considered raising their salaries.
However, before we did anything, all of these employees moved to our major business teams, including our device and cloud teams. I believe these employees should take some of the credit for our rapid growth in the consumer business over the past several years.
They left a product line that was performing poorly, and moved to a successful product line that offered them more development opportunities. Of course, they needed to be tested in these new positions. This month, we're going to hold an awards ceremony to commend these people. This team of 10,000 to 20,000 employees completed the transition process without any complaints. They said they wanted to choose 3,000 people from their team to walk on the red carpet. We have no problem with that. We just don't know whether our red carpet will be long enough.
Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: We have the same problem in our business with so many people who grew up with a physical newspaper having to learn to convey information on a Mate X or an even smaller phone. It's very difficult to re-educate people who have grown up with one system and I admire your success.
Q7 Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: Listening to you talk, I wish, I wonder if you could spend a few minutes just comparing Huawei today and you personally today, from when you started in 1988 in a small apartment with so few employees. We have taken a tour of Huawei these last couple of days and seen spectacular architecture. We have seen so many employees doing such cutting-edge technology work involving the latest technology. As you reflect upon your own history and career, how did you go from being an unemployed soldier, reliant on Hong Kong PBX with no real technical experience? If I understand, you were an architect in terms of your education. How did you make that switch? Especially you started this company in your mid-forties. In America I can only think of one executive who started a new company at that age, Mr. Ralph Roberts from the Comcast company. He used to make belts for pets and then he built a big technology company. But I would love to know what it was that pushed you forward and made you successful.
Ren: That was a time of transition for China. China's military was significantly downsized, and people like us were thrown back into society. At that time the country was also transitioning from a planned economy to a market economy.
It has been extremely difficult to get where we are today. Just imagine how difficult it will be for North Korea to transition to a system like the United States. When we were demobilized and tried to participate in civilian life, it was like we were abandoned by society. The old days when we could get a fixed monthly pay were gone. We had no idea what the market economy was. I didn't even know what a supermarket was. Many of my good friends, they went to study abroad in the United States, in Canada back then. When they returned to China, they talked about supermarkets and how great they were. But I didn't even have the vaguest idea of what a supermarket was. And then of course, over time, I figured it out. I remember when my wife's nephew came to Shenzhen for a visit. He was in a supermarket, where he saw other people taking things off the shelf as they pleased. He said, "I should take some too. It's free, right?"
That's not an exaggeration. It really shows how shallow an understanding people like us had about the market economy 30 years ago. Yet we had already been thrown into the deep end. How were we supposed to survive? We had to raise our families. We had to feed them. Life was very difficult back then, especially at the very start when I founded Huawei. My family members often went to the vegetable market in the evening. Because that was when you could find dead fish and dead shrimp sold at a very cheap price. You know kids, they had to have some protein, and otherwise they wouldn't grow up strong. Back then when we had chicken, we would first eat the meat off the bones. Then we would use the bones to make soup. That's the life of Chinese people more than 30 years ago. And Wanzhou was also brought up in that environment.
Compared to today, we can see the significant efforts that China has made to reform and open up. From the perspective of the West, maybe they would argue that China hasn't been bold enough with its reform agenda. But imagine back 30 or 40 years ago. Not the fact that we're sitting here and talking to each other. Even if we just shook hands I might have been put in prison. Today, we can talk freely, not just about the U.S., but also about our own issues. So China has gone to great lengths when it comes to political reform. Regarding culture and education, China has fallen behind the rest of the world for a long time. So this whole process for China has been slow to some. But for us, we understand how things are. That's why we have showed patience. When there weren't laws for something, we wouldn't do it. Once there were laws for it, then we would follow them.
Q8 Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: You talked about the chicken with the bones. Some people have told me that in the early days you would make soup and take it to your employees and serve it to them. Is that a true story?
Ren: That's exaggerated. What happened was we were on holiday one time and my employees wanted to try my famous braised cooking. So I made something for the trip and we brought it with us. It wasn't soup though.
Here's another true story. There was once I was on a business trip in Turkmenistan and the office there was pretty small. I spent a day and a half there with nothing to do, so we toured the local market. We bought a big pig's head. I made braised pig head for everyone. It was the head of an old female pig and it took six hours. We spent that time chatting and getting to know each other even better. But that wasn't soup either.
Some weekends, I stay at home and do the cooking. My wife likes to accuse me of cooking for the housekeepers.
Q9 Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: In addition to Turkmenistan, I know you also visited the United States and when you made that trip or trips, were you influenced by anything that you saw, any management style, any lessons learned?
Ren: I have always been a big fan of the US, ever since I was young. This has not changed until today. Even in the most difficult times, the Cultural Revolution in China, the People's Liberation Army General Staff Department still arranged for representatives to head for West Point. There was quite a bit of coverage about the visit on Jiefangjun Bao (PLA Daily). Those stories were very true because their descriptions echoed what we saw later with our own eyes. Our company has kept learning from the US military. For example, at Huawei, we use exams to improve training effectiveness. This is one of the areas where we learned from the US military.
We have been learning in a very serious way from the US. Over the last 20 to 30 years, we have invited 20 to 30 consulting firms from the US to teach us the American way of managing business. We have probably paid close to 10 billion US dollars in consulting fees. We also hired KPMG as our auditor. This is our annual report audited by KPMG.
Norman Pearlstine: Is this the most recent one?
Ren: No, it's the annual report for 2017. We're going to publish the latest version on March 29, and I'm going to send you a copy then.
Q10 Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: We talked a lot about the U.S. We talked a little bit about Canada. My wife is Canadian and we bought an apartment in Vancouver a couple of years ago so I will be there by March 22nd. I would like to, if possible, speak to your lawyers in Vancouver to try to understand what is going on with Canada, with the U.S. and with the CFO. Because to me, it's a part of this whole puzzle that is hardest for me to understand. I understand trade disputes. I understand sanctions and fines but this is the first time I am aware of where a case like this has been brought and I know that Canadians are very conflicted, so I would like to sort of understand that a little better.
Ren: Both Canada and China are victims in this case. As a saying goes, if a snipe and a clam are locked in fight, the only advantage goes to the fisherman.
The U.S. is benefitting a lot from its trade negotiations with China while Canada is suffering a lot. Meng Wanzhou has no criminal record, and she didn't commit any crimes in Canada. So, I don't think Canada took the wisest course of action. Meng has travelled to many countries. Why have those countries never taken action? Currently, there is an ongoing judicial process on this, so we'll leave it to legal procedures.
Norman Pearlstine: I understand. I was not suggesting otherwise, I was hoping to get better guidance from your legal representatives because it is a case that I quite frankly don't understand.
Ren: It should be fine for you to meet with our lawyers in Canada.
Norman Pearlstine: I was trained as a lawyer but Canadian law is a little bit beyond my competence.
Q11 Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: Can you talk a little bit about Shenzhen and the importance of Shenzhen as the place you came to and a place that has grown almost as fast as Huawei? And was Shenzhen important to you, being a new city? I would love to just get your understanding of that.
Ren: Shenzhen is an immigrant city. Several decades ago, many people, especially young and ambitious people, swarmed to Shenzhen, then the forefront of China's reform and opening up policy. You could say it is similar to the Mayflower arriving in the United States. Of course, in the United States, these Pilgrims signed a compact on the ship. However, Shenzhen doesn't have the power of legislation.
As a test of reform, Shenzhen has strived to make breakthroughs in terms of the reform agenda. One of its first reforms was to pay two cents RMB as an incentive for dump trucks. Two cents RMB is equal to about one-fifth of a US cent. Even with this small incentive, the efficiency at the time increased substantially. This reform caused a storm across China. It was seen as a capitalist policy, and many believed that had to be removed. In spite of this, Shenzhen has been growing and making solid efforts to get rid of the old system. It has been a painstaking process. Many successful government officials at the time made mistakes, but they will not be forgotten. Any progress in history comes at a certain cost.
Q12 David Pierson, LA Times: Well, thank you for having us. I think a part of the problem in the United States is the misunderstanding of the role of the government and the party here in China, that people in the United States feel that anything associated with the government and the party, therefore, is nefarious. Perhaps, Mr. Ren can help demystify this aspect, this relationship with Huawei. It's quite ordinary for a company to have a party committee. Maybe you could talk about the organs of the government that Huawei has to comply with or stay in touch with in order to do business overseas?
Ren: First of all, Chinese law stipulates that any companies operating in China must have a party committee. Before Huawei established one, the Chinese branches of Motorola, IBM, and Coca Cola already had one. What these party committees do is to ask employees to work hard. Actually, many foreign companies operating in China welcome a party committee.
Huawei's party committee isn't in any way involved in our business decisions. Their biggest responsibility is ensuring the integrity and business conduct of our employees. And committee members are elected by vote, not assigned from outside of Huawei.
As for Huawei's relationship with the Chinese government, we first and foremost obey Chinese laws. Secondly, we pay taxes. Thirdly, the Chinese government has for years subsidized enterprises that invest in basic research. We also receive such subsidies. And we also get similar subsidies from the European Union. But the total subsidies we receive are at less than 0.2 percent of our annual revenue.
By the way, the R&D subsidy programs I mentioned are open to all companies, including foreign companies. This kind of subsidy isn't for applied technology. It's for basic research, and findings need to be publicized to benefit all humanity. I think that is the extent of Huawei's relationship with the Chinese government.
Q13 David Pierson, LA Times: Journalists often grapple with the question of whether we are Americans first or journalists first because of the information we usually have. In your job, what is your priority? To your country or to your company?
Ren: First, we have already made our position clear to the European Union that we are willing to sign a no-spy agreement.
If people argue that business-to-business no-spy agreements don't really guarantee anything, then the Chinese government can come out to witness or endorse the signing of such an agreement.
If a foreign government is willing to have their high-level government officials sign an agreement with the Chinese government to ensure that Chinese companies will never engage in spying activities or install backdoors, the Chinese government may also consider signing such an agreement.
I think the Chinese government understands Huawei's current situation regarding the backdoor issue with the world at large. At the recent Munich Security Conference, Yang Jiechi, a senior official in the Chinese government, made it very clear that China does not require Chinese companies to install backdoors or violate international laws or the laws of the countries in which they operate.
Currently, we are pushing for a no-spy agreement with European countries. This whole process is in limbo though, because US companies are not willing to sign such an agreement. If even just one country, like one in Europe, is willing to sign an agreement like this with the Chinese government, I think the impact would be significant. This would help create an understanding between China and the United States.
Q14 David Pierson, LA Times: Given your strategy of suing the United States, would you encourage Facebook to sue to gain access in China? Would you encourage the American automakers to sue to exit joint ventures? Would you encourage other companies not to have to share technology to China?
Ren: First, I support US manufacturing companies in being able to win the right to establish wholly-owned foreign companies here in China. They could try to do so and maybe their applications would get approved. If a local government in China wants automakers to establish joint ventures in order to gain a certain advantage, those automakers can present arguments to the central government. The arguments can clarify their stance regarding why they want to reject joint ventures and instead establish wholly-owned foreign companies.
Huawei also does not want to enter into any joint ventures outside China, because there would be so many things to consider and manage. This would be very time-consuming.
Maybe it would be worth US companies trying to apply to establish wholly-owned entities. They can make their cases to the Chinese government, and explain that they only want to establish wholly-owned companies, rather than joint ventures. This would eliminate issues such as those surrounding technology transfers.
If US Internet companies want to enter the Chinese market, perhaps they should start with companies that are not politically sensitive, like Amazon. These companies can talk with the Chinese government to get permissions first. There is always a sequence of what comes first. Others can come later. Personally, I believe everyone should have equal rights.
Norman Pearlstine: So saying that the definition of a joint venture is "the same bed, different dreams"?
Ren: If you want to make things go belly up, go for a joint venture. "Hey, I really want to start a joint venture with you. You take 99% of the stake, and I'll take 1%. All you need to do is give me a credit card. I'll swipe the credit card like crazy, until the 99% is used up." So if you don't want to get things done, go for a joint venture.
Q15 Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: And the executive who I was closest to in America was Mr. Andy Grove of Intel who wrote a book called, Only the Paranoid Survive, and listening to Mr. Ren, I am very much reminded of him and his philosophies.
Ren: I'm a fan too – I agree with what he says, and I'm a paranoiac like he is.
Q16 Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: I think you have the best job I have ever heard because you have veto power. Will your successor have the same kind of power or is this just for founders?
Ren: We originally wanted to remove this veto power after a certain point of time. That might be this or next year. But after seeing what's happening with Brexit, we don't think we can leave the fate of the company solely to a democratic process. So we've decided to hold onto veto power for now. Our Articles of Governance state that veto power can be inherited, but that's not going to be by my family. Instead, veto power is going to be collectively exercised by an elite group made up of seven elected members. It is possible that none of them are my family members.
Q17 Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: I was just saying that this is not for transcript.
Ren: It doesn't matter. You can include this in your transcript.
Norman Pearlstine: But I was very interested about what you were saying that we need go back to, go back to home and starting over when you get too much into being in the corporate position, and which is why once a year, I try to do a recording trip like this, to remind myself how hard it is to be a young journalist.
Ren: I think you and I are both young fellows. So there's hope that Google will invent some sort of reverse-aging medicine in our lifetimes. If we can revert back to say, 18 years old, let's get together and celebrate.
Norman Pearlstine: We can do that. Yes, I look forward to that.
Q18 Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: Personally, I hope that you and your daughter are able to talk to each other and give each other support.
Ren: I talk to my daughter quite often at the moment. Her mother is also currently in Canada to be with her.
Q19 Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: So I just want to ask quickly about the architecture of Huawei campus, because this building yesterday when we took the train from the "Czech" to "France" to "Germany", what was in your mind when you were deciding on this very unusual campus?
Ren: It was the outcome of our tender process. The Songshan Lake Campus was designed by a Japanese architect named Okamoto from Nikken Sekkei Ltd. We had an expert panel review different design options for this campus. The panel liked his design very much and chose it.
There is a story about this Japanese design master. He doesn't speak English, even though he received his bachelor's, master's, and PhD degrees in the US. He is a genius.
Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: I worked in Japan for three years and don't speak any Japanese and I worked in Hong Kong for three years and don't speak any Cantonese, but I am not a genius.
Ren: You are a genius. Okamoto is an architectural genius. You are a media genius.
Q20 Norman Pearlstine, LA Times: I read one comment where you said that your daughter would not succeed you because her background is in finance and you think Huawei is now so big that it needs someone whose background is technology. Is that correct?