Huawei was founded by Ren Zhengfei with a registered capital of 21,000 yuan. Its first office was a modest apartment in Shenzhen, China. At the start, Huawei was a sales agent for Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems.
Just as the business was growing, the PBX vendor sold its company and Huawei’s PBX business was suddenly terminated. Huawei had no choice but to start its own research and development from scratch.
Huawei started with 40-gate switchboards designed for hotels. In 1993, Huawei developed a 2,000-gate digital switchboard known as the City & Countryside 08 (C&C 08). This marked its beginning as a telecom equipment vendor.
At the 8th International Telecoms Expo in Moscow, Huawei was the only Chinese vendor present. This was also Huawei’s first experience participating in an international telecoms expo.
Huawei started the Integrated Product Development and Integrated Supply Chain project with IBM, embarking on a 20-year transformation journey. To manage the growth of the company, Huawei knew it needed to improve its management process and structure.
Bangalore is known as the Silicon Valley of India. Huawei’s first R&D center was inaugurated here in 1999, with a focus on software engineering. Today, Huawei has 14 R&D institutes and centers worldwide.
Huawei became an ITU (International Telecommunication Union) sector member. The ITU is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It was a key step to becoming a global telecoms player. Today, Huawei is part of over 400 standards organizations, industry alliances and open source communities.
Huawei created a new, compact base station for a Dutch mobile network. Instead of a traditional, larger system, key components were integrated into a small box and connected to an amplifier. It required a smaller footprint, which simplified site requirements and lowered operating costs. This became a universal standard in the European market.
The first joint innovation center between Huawei and Vodafone was set up in Spain. Huawei has always believed in listening to customers’ needs and working together to innovate. As of today, Huawei has set up 36 joint innovation centers with top customers around the world.
Huawei helped mobile network carriers build sites at altitudes unheard of before: 5,200 and 6,500 meters up Mount Everest. It took 10 days of backbreaking work by the Huawei team to set up a reliable mobile network that provides coverage for all major mountaineering routes and camps.
On March 11, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake rocked the northeast coast of Japan, triggering a tsunami that damaged a nuclear power plant. Despite the extensive damages and dangers, Huawei employees, working round-the-clock with local telecom operators, rapidly arrived on-site to restore connectivity.
Bangladeshi women face many obstacles in their pursuit of higher education. Huawei, partnering with local government and telecom companies, deployed 6 buses with training facilities to help underprivileged women learn digital skills. These buses will continue to benefit more women in the near future.