Given their recent rise to prominence, it may seem like Huawei is a new company, but in actuality they are older than yesterday’s Year of the Rabbit spotlight company, Asus. Founded in 1988, Huawei was originally a Chinese importer of PBX products. Within a year, the company had begun to manufacture and market their own PBX products, beginning their long association with phone networks.
It took a while to carve a foothold in the Chinese marketplace, but eventually they began expanding intenationally in 1996, providing fixed-line network products to Hong Kong telco Hutchison-Whampoa. They began a partnership with IBM in 1998 and by 2004 were making more money from international business than from within China.
Despite having their finger in pretty much every pie imaginable in the mobile phone space, Huawei are perhaps best known in Australia for their mobile 3G dongles, which they provide to the likes of Optus and Vodafone. They’re also investing heavily in LTE technology, conducting trials with all the major telcos to build infrastructure and hardware for the next generation phone networks.
The company’s history has also been shadowed by controversy, with BT raising concerns about security when relying so heavily on the Chinese company. The US have reported that Huawei business deals would undermine National Security and ASIO has been reported to have investigated reports linking Huawei with the People’s Liberation Army of China.
But despite these concerns, Huawei is a global leader creating some of the amazing hardware we take for granted every day when we make and receive phone calls or emails over 3G networks. They’re a major player, innovating and leading the way in the mobile network space. The only way we could like them more is if we could work out how to pronounce their name properly…