Huawei In The Spotlight: CRN Goes To Shenzhen

A Better-Connected World

China-based Huawei, which outside the U.S. market is a leading provider of networking and telecom gear, used last month's Huawei Global Analyst Summit to introduce both its strategy and its technology to the worldwide press and analyst community.

While the event was focused on an international office, the elephant in the room was the fact that Huawei has yet to make significant inroads into the U.S. market, the largest potential market for its hardware and software yet one where U.S. government concerns about possible security issues have limited the company's sales.

Turn the page to get a look at Huawei's vision and its struggles to enter the U.S., and then step inside Huawei's headquarters with CRN.

Huge Market Potential For Huawei

For Huawei, the world is evolving toward a dependency on connected devices at home and at work that, together with the cloud and business analytics, will have significant impacts on people’s lives, said William Hsu, chief strategy marketing officer and executive director of Huawei's board.

"We're seeing our glasses, our shoes, even our toothbrushes, being connected, said Hsu, speaking through an interpreter.

Connectivity has become the new normal, Hsu said. "In our age, where connection is the most fundamental need, we cannot live without the network," he said.

Huawei Strong, But Not In The U.S.

Fan Chen, vice president of accounting for Huawei, said that, worldwide, Huawei is a financial giant.

Speaking in English, Chen said worldwide 2013 revenue for the company reached $39.5 billion, up 8.5 percent over 2012. Operating profit, in Chinese yuan terms, was just more than 12 percent of revenue. About 77 percent of the global top 50 telecom carriers are Huawei customers, he said.

However, revenue in the Americas, including North and South America, was only 13.1 percent of total revenue, and actually fell 1.3 percent over 2012, Chen said. Growth in the Americas was actually high for the year except in North America, where spending cutbacks impacted Huawei sales, he said.

Serving The World While Looking To Do More In The U.S.

Eric Xu, currently serving as CEO at Huawei, which has a system of regularly rotating that responsibility among a handful of top executives, said through an interpreter that Huawei wants to build a better-connected world.

Huawei in 2013 provided products and services to about one-third of the world's population, Xu said. "We want to build a world that connects people to people, people to things, and things to things," he said.

Questions about the potential security issues from adopting Huawei equipment due to perceived ties between Huawei and the Chinese government have not had a big impact on Huawei's growth, Xu said during a question-and-answer session.

Huawei's U.S. Enterprise Business: Small, But Lots Of Potential

Patrick Zhang Shunmao, president of marketing and solutions for the Huawei enterprise business, told CRN that the U.S. is the world's technology leader, making it important that Huawei succeed in that market.

"U.S. customer requirements are usually advanced compared to other areas," Zhang said. "To keep in a leading position, for us the U.S. is not just technology, but also its lead in customer requirements."

When asked about last year's drop in Huawei's North American sales, Zhang said the main cause was a fall in carrier sales. However, he said, sales into the U.S. of enterprise products, including servers, storage, networking and mobile equipment, should reach $100 million this year, up from $60 million in 2013.

Channel Key To U.S. Growth

While Huawei is known in the U.S. for its telecom solutions, is not yet a well-known brand in the enterprise business, Zhang said.

As a result, Huawei is dependent on channel partners to build its business and spread the word about its brand, he said.

"We need channel partners to do business with enterprise customers, both for signing contracts and doing services," he said. "We need to enable our partners."

Huawei also needs its partners to stand between it and its customers, Zhang said. "We don't sell direct," he said.

A Visit To Huawei's Headquarters

Huawei took press and analysts on a tour of its headquarters in Shenzhen in China's Guangdong province, where they were introduced to a wide range of current and future technologies the company offers.

The headquarters is part of a 350-acre campus that is almost a city-within-a-city, with its own hospitals, schools, apartment buildings for employees and visitors, and even its own lake.

Big Neighbor: Foxconn

Interestingly, across the road from the Huawei campus is the Shenzhen-based campus of another of the world's largest electronics manufacturers, Foxconn, the OEM contractor whose customers include Apple and nearly every major electronics company.

The Patent Wall

Huawei is also quite busy on the research-and-development front.

As of Dec. 31, 2012, Huawei said it has filed 14,494 patent applications outside China and 41,948 applications in China, and was granted 30,240 patents.

The company also has 16 research-and-development centers and 35 innovation centers worldwide.

The "Pipe"

Look at the center of this display for the word "Pipe" to better understand how Huawei sees itself.

Xu said during his keynote that Huawei is focused on a "pipe" strategy, providing the technology to let its partners connect customers and devices.

"But we will not touch on the content and the application [side of the business]," he said. "By this, we mean we will focus on the core. ... We will continue to be a humble leader."

Small Cell On Demand

The six devices on the ceiling represent Huawei's Small Cell On Demand technology. Huawei also calls them "Lamp Sites" because they look like ceiling lamps.

The two middle devices offer simultaneous support for 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technology.

FusionCube Converged Infrastructure

Huawei's FusionCube combines server, storage and networking technology in a converged infrastructure. In this implementation, it is used as the basis for an SAP HANA appliance.


For Huawei, eLTE, or enterprise LTE, is one of the ways it is trying to push further into the enterprise market. The company claims to be the first with an eLTE broadband trunking solution featuring 100-Mbps bandwidth and a multiband, flexible networking capability for harsh environments.

Mobile Broadband

Huawei also showed its mobile broadband technology with an emphasis on the compact nature of its equipment.

5G Anyone?

While deployment of 5G mobile technology won't happen until maybe 2020, Huawei is planting its stake in the future with a research-and-development focus on the technology, including this mock-up of what a 5G base station might look like.

Huawei OceanStor

Huawei's OceanStor enterprise-class storage solutions come in versions designed for general-purpose enterprise, big data and cloud deployments.


Huawei also offers modular data center solutions combining its various enterprise server, storage and networking technologies.

Huawei FusionSphere

In keeping with its emphasis on being the "pipe" in IT, Huawei's FusionSphere is what the company calls its "cloud operating system."

FusionSphere is a data center solution that virtualizes physical compute, storage and networking resources to provide automated cloud services provisioning and monitoring.