In just over two decades, Huawei Technologies HWT.UL has become the world’s third largest maker of mobile telecommunications gear. A chronology of key events — some somewhat controversial — in Huawei’s history:
1982 – Ren Zhengfei retires as an officer in the People’s Liberation Army, where he helped build its communications network.
1988 – Ren founds Huawei as distributor of imported PBX products.
1993 – Introduces its first major product, a digital telephone switch with large capacity of over 10,000 circuits.
1996 – Wins first big overseas contract for fixed-line network products from Hong Kong’s Hutchison-Whampoa.
2003 – Forms joint venture with 3Com to build Internet protocol-based routers and switches.
2004 – Overseas sales surpass domestic sales for first time.
2007 – State media says Huawei gives $146 million to 7,000 employees to quit and then rehired them to skirt the higher costs of a new labor contract law.
2007 – Plan to buy 3Com with partner Bain Capital fails on US government concerns over Huawei’s ties to military.
2009 – Named world’s top patent seeker, becoming the first Chinese company to head the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) list.
2009 – Contract orders rose 46% from the previous year to $23.3 billion — 75% of which came from overseas. Expects orders to reach $30 billion this year.
2009 – Overtakes Alcatel-Lucent (ALUA.PA) to become world’s No. 3 mobile network gear maker, doubling its market share from a year ago, according to researcher Dell’Oro.
All this reported by Reuters.
What should now be mentioned is the totally amazing Huawei Femtocell, shown here, which is just being launched. About the size of a paperback book it allows users to connect directly to a standard broadband DSL or cable service and delivers in-door 3G network coverage for handsets. Which is totally amazing and when prices of using mobile networks have been sorted out — and it is happening — means the death of the wired phone.