In show of openness, Huawei divulges board members
Huawei listed more than just financial figures when it released its annual report this morning. For the first time ever, the closely held Chinese infrastructure vendor disclosed the identities of its board of directors, including founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei.
The unusual move comes amid a greater effort from Huawei to make its operations more transparent.
The privately held company has had difficulty doing business in the United States because of government concerns over Huawei's alleged ties to the Chinese government and military. After years of avoiding publicity, Huawei has shifted tack in an attempt to defend its reputation.
"2011 has been a difficult year so far," Ren said in the annual report. "We have witnessed a complex external environment due to natural disasters, political conflicts and economic challenges. This environment may present uncertainties for business development."
Ren did not provide specific details about the company's financial outlook for 2011. Last year, the company saw its profits increase 30 percent to $3.55 billion. The earnings were buoyed by a 24 percent rise in sales, which hit $28.03 billion in 2010.
The company is working to become more efficient and plans to restructure its operations into four business groups: carrier network, enterprise business, device business and other businesses.
Huawei has been working to expand its business outside of China and has found some success getting its handsets into foreign markets. The company shipped more than 120 million units last year, an increase of nearly 25 percent over 2009.
Growth was especially significant in the United States and Japan, Huawei said. Last year, the company launched a budget-priced Android smartphone, the Ideos, as well as its first tablet, the Ideos S7.
Huawei's annual report contained a brief biography of all of its board members, including Ren. Ren's nine-year stint in the Chinese military has been the source of heavy speculation among U.S. government officials, who fear Huawei's equipment could threaten national security.
According to the annual report, Ren served in a professional role without military rank and retired from the army in 1983 when the Chinese government disbanded the entire engineering corps. Ren then worked for the Shenzhen South Sea Oil Corp. before establishing Huawei in 1987.