In the early 1980s Chinese communication infrastructure was in a bad shape, even for that time in comparison with other countries. First product that was missing were telephone switches so a number of Chinese electrical engineers and engineers alike worked to find some way to develop a product which could be mass produced so that the country can acquire a better infrastructure.

Ren Zhengfei, founder of Huawei

In 1987, a man named Ren Zhengfei, a former deputy in the People’s Liberation Army engineers, started Huawei company. His base capital was about US$5000 of today’s money, which is staggering. Ren focused on researching already developed technology from other countries, which would obviously accelerate his own development of the required devices. His main goal was to replace products coming from abroad with home made devices.

Up to 1990 Huawei’s main business was reselling of PBX switches (private branch exchange) that were imported from Hong Kong, while at the same time developing own technologies with reverse engineering processes. Huawei has amassed staffing of 600 all of which were working in research and development, designing their own PBX switches and selling them to hotels and small businesses.

1993 marked a critical point in Huawei’s growth. They launched a programmable telephone switch named C&C08, which was the most advanced device of that type in China. This was their breakthrough product which quickly found its way into Chinese homes and businesses, resulting Huawei in gaining a massive market share.

In 1996 the Chinese government brought a decision in which foreign networking products are to be restricted for import, boosting domestic production and design. With previous ties to the military and with this new decision, Huawei was established as national pride, which increased their funding and capacity by a significant margin.

In 1999 Huawei opened an additional research and development center in India, Bangalore, increasing their capacities for reverse engineering.

First joint venture came in 2003, when Huawei and 3Com joined forces, forming an alliance by the name of H3C. Focus of this joint venture extended both Huawei’s and 3Com’s goals, to develop and innovate in terms of networking hardware and equipent.

Huawei C300, first Huawei handset

This same year Huawei made its mark in the handset market, launching their first phone named C300.

In 2004 Huawei received a $US10 billion credit in China National Bank, which was used to provide financing for customers who were buying Huawei products outside of China, which was a necessary move in terms of market expansion. It has proven to be most valuable, as foreign sales exceeded domestic by 2005.

In 2007 Huawei joined up with Symantec Corporation, a U.S. based security software provider. Their goal was to provide key solutions for networking and data storage in a secure manner.

In 2008 Huawei extended its reach to Australia, as Optus, an Australian based service provider, partnered up with Huawei to build another abroad research facility. It was located in Sidney and its main focus was on GSM and HSPA+ networking development and hardware implementation.

In 2010 Huawei found its place on the Global Fortune 500 list, featuring US$22 billion in annual sales resulting with US$2.7 billion in profits.

During this extreme growth Huawei was definitely becoming one of the biggest players in the networking hardware manufacturers. As of 2012 Huawei has overthrown Ericsson from the throne of largest telecommunications equipment vendor. By 2014 Huawei has become the world’s biggest telecommunications vendor and with more than 3400 patents to their name, it also became the world’s number one applicant for international patents.

In September of 2017 Huawei developed a city aware network featuring loads of IoT concepts. It’s slogan was “one network, one platform, n applications”. The amount of technology working in harmony here was quite amazing, as it included cloud storage, big data management, construction models. At that point it was clear that Huawei aims to dominate over cloud computing services as well.

In 2018 some political agenda took place between the Chinese government and mostly the United States. Basically, the US posted a bill which would prevent domestic companies from cooperating with Huawei, ZTE and some other vendors from China due to suspicions about 5G networking equipment containing espionage devices. To respond to these, allegedly fake, accusations, the Chinese government threatened with economic retaliation towards governments preventing their own national companies from doing business with Huawei. British intelligence came into the conflict to report that Huawei did not implement any kind of espionage technology within their 5G devices, which can be checked through the open-source code running this equipment.

The conflict between the U.S. and Chinese government continued into 2019. This time Huawei was accused of wire and bank fraud, inappropriate trade secrets and obstruction of justice. The Chinese government stated that they believe the charges brought up by the U.S. are unfair. A couple of months later, this resulted in U.S. based companies being required to have a proper government license in order to do any kind of business with Huawei. This basically forced Huawei to move into Canada as the U.S. restrictions were definitely leaving a mark.

Despite the conflicts between Chinese and the U.S. government, Huawei is a huge company which widely contributed towards bringing new technologies to the table, especially in the up and rising 5G tech. With the accusations still ongoing, it is not certain that Huawei will find solid ground on U.S. soil ever again, which is a shame for average consumers.

Editor’s note: This is an informative historical article, for any troubleshooting for your Huawei product kindly refer to your model’s Huawei user manual or check out our Huawei modem troubleshooting category.