Huawei founder: ‘I’m just a puppet leader’

Tram Ho

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei hopes that at some point, he will be forgotten.

“I’m just an old man. There’s nothing to remember about me. People should think more about the future and the world. My biggest wish is to sit down and drink coffee without anyone realizing it.” , 75-year-old CEO of Huawei interviewed SCMP.

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It was a simple wish but out of reach for the top leadership of the world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier Huawei. The company is currently struggling in the trade war between the US and China.

Huawei’s sanctions from the United States last year forced Mr. Nham – a person who rarely appeared in the media to appear.

The first is the arrest of Mr. Nham’s daughter – Huawei Meng Wanzhou CFO in Canada in December 2018. Currently Ms. Meng is still in Canada and is confined in her own home. She plans to attend the trial to decide whether she will be extradited to the US in the near future.

Last May, Washington blacklisted Huawei, accusing it of threatening national security. The Trump administration also continues to urge European alliances to exclude Huawei from their plans to develop a 5G network.

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Prior to the arrest of Meng, Mr. Ren had never interviewed on television and rarely answered reporters. Many Huawei employees – including those who work at their headquarters in Shenzhen – say they have never met their CEO in real life.

However, his absolute influence within Huawei can be clearly seen through the company’s internal online forum, Xingsheng Community. Here, Mr. Nham’s posts like his talk with company leaders on innovation and personal views on many topics are always at the center.

This leader is famous for being frank. A senior employee recalled being scolded by Mr. Nham at an exhibition after failing to answer product and cooperation questions.

In an interview, Mr. Nham was also comfortable sharing everything and his staff never dared to interrupt even though sometimes he felt his answer “was not the best answer in terms of relationships. communication and may have some negative effects. ”

“Nham Chinh Phi is a spiritual leader of Huawei,” said a senior employee with more than 10 years in Huawei.

But Mr. Ren rejected that idea. “I’m not Huawei’s spiritual leader. I’m just a puppet leader.”

“I only have a symbolic role, like a clay statue in a temple. Without the statue, the temple will become empty but the truth is that the statue does not really have any role. I have at Huawei or not has no impact at all. ”

According to him, his contribution to Huawei is mainly related to “continuous scientific research and production”.

Explaining why he never interviewed to promote Huawei, he said: “Survival is not only expressed when you talk, it also lies in many other issues. So I always pay attention. more to internal issues. My biggest contribution is to help maintain the company’s strengths during difficult times. ”

Growing up in a mountainous town in China’s poor province, Mr. Ren also had a very hard time. The son of a teacher, he lived in China’s most impoverished periods from 1958 to 1961. He later joined the army as an engineer in 1974 during China’s renovation period. He later considered it the best option in a time when millions of Chinese people were not educated because of the chaotic social situation.

His military experience helped him to become a responsible person, and that was thoroughly applied when he ran Huawei – the group he founded from 21,000 yuan in 1987.

A sense of community responsibility is the reason why Huawei engineers were quick to try to help Sichuan during the 2008 earthquake and in Japan during the 2011 earthquake or the Fukushima nuclear leak. More recently, the company also installed 5G networks for two anti-Covid-19 field hospitals in Wuhan.

“As a telecommunications company, we have an urgent responsibility to save the world. This is our responsibility. When there is a need, we are not a company but soldiers. participate in problem solving. Sometimes when we get back, sometimes we don’t. But that’s not the point. ”

At the time of creating Huawei, he shared a small room of only 10 m2 with his parents and younger brother. Due to lack of capital and lack of access to bank loans, the company could not pay its employees. Instead, employees are paid shares and promise to pay dividends, creating a shareholder structure that is a special employee at Huawei today.

“When Huawei has been in operation for 5 years, it is still very difficult, but Nham told employees that they will become one of the most important companies in the global telecommunications industry in the next 20 years.”

That statement has now come true. However, it was trade-off with so many years of non-stop work, not even having time for Mr. Nham’s family.

Nham admits he has not been able to take care of the family at the best because the job took up most of his time. “My children have grown up and I can not play them together a game or hide and seek. That is my most regret.”

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On the contrary, Huawei founder is considered to be very considerate of employees. “He always pays attention to every little detail,” an employee said.

This is especially evident when he was asked about Huawei’s reaction to the Covid-19 epidemic, Nham replied: Sending boxes of snacks to truckers is one of the most important measures at work. our company.

“At this time, it’s not easy for truckers to send Huawei goods to buy food on their route. So we have prepared snacks boxes for them. What’s in it? A cup of hot coffee or tea, yogurt, sandwichs and masks We also set up tents where they unload the goods, they can eat there. ship the goods to us “.

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Source : Genk