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Nieprawdopodobny wzrost Huawei – dobry długi artykuł w Foreign Policy

Świetny artykuł w ForeignPolicy opisujący nieprawdopodobny wzrost Huawei i związane z tym perypetie. Absolute must-read w czasie weekendu.

Kilka ciekawych fragmentów:

A decade ago, in 2009, the Swedish phone giant Teliasonera set out to build one of the world’s first fourth-generation wireless networks in some of Scandinavia’s most important—and technologically savviest—cities. For Oslo, Norway, Teliasonera made an audacious and unexpected choice of who would build it: Huawei, a Chinese company with little presence outside China and some other developing markets.

The same year, Huawei landed an even bigger and more unexpected contract to completely rebuild and replace Norway’s mobile phone network, which had first been built by the global standard-bearers: Ericsson of Sweden and Nokia of Finland. The Chinese upstart eventually completed the world’s most ambitious network swap ahead of schedule and under budget.

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Trump administration—which has more often than not managed to alienate its longtime allies—is already faltering in its global campaign to isolate Huawei. While a few U.S. allies, such as Australia and Japan, have followed Washington’s lead and already banned Huawei technology, many others are still considering it. The United Kingdom, like Germany, is still weighing the geopolitical implications of purchasing Huawei equipment. Others such as Thailand and South Korea are pressing ahead and letting Huawei launch 5G projects. India, which the United States hopes to use as a counterweight to China, is resisting American calls to exclude Huawei from its networks.

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There’s no single explanation that accounts for Huawei’s success or recent technical prowess. A cost advantage helped, of course. So did state backing, government protection from foreign competitors, and a huge local market, which led to massive and swiftly multiplying revenues. And it could hardly have been mere coincidence that Huawei’s founder, Ren, was a PLA veteran, and Huawei’s first customer proved to be the People’s Liberation Army.

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European investigators have found evidence that Huawei may have received a massive $30 billion line of credit from the China Development Bank, among other well-timed financing.

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Without Beijing’s policy of protecting Chinese companies from aggressive foreign competition at home, “Huawei would no longer exist,” Ren has said.

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Huawei was clearly shaped by Ren’s personal vision and ambition. After leaving the army at the age of 39 and working for a state-owned company, Shenzhen Electronics Corp., for four years, Ren secured an $8.5 million loan from a state bank and started Huawei on his own with 14 staffers, the Far Eastern Economic Review reported in a 2000 profile of the company.

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en made massive investments in his company’s research and development wing to build his own products. In the early 1990s, the company is reported to have had 500 research and development staff and 200 working in production—a lopsided ratio—according to an examination of the company’s business history by the analyst Nathaniel Ahrens.

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Ren managed to secure another form of protection from the state. He met with Jiang Zemin, the Communist Party general secretary, and told him that a country without a domestic telecoms switch industry was like a country without a military. “Well said,” Jiang replied, according to Ren’s account of the meeting. By 1996, under Ren’s prodding, the Chinese government shifted its industrial policy to favor domestic telecommunications companies, keeping foreign competitors out.

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And while Huawei’s history has been marred by several cases of technology theft—such as an infamous instance in the early 2000s of stealing Cisco code for router software—experts credit Ren with building Huawei into a research and development powerhouse from the company’s first days.

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Ren says that being a privately held company gives Huawei the freedom to plow more money back into R&D—some $15 billion to $20 billion per year. Some 80,000 people, or nearly half Huawei’s workforce, are dedicated to research and development; tens of thousands alone work at Huawei’s huge corporate campus in Shenzhen.

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Now, the situation is reversed. Huawei has more 5G-related patents than any other firm, according to IPlytics, a German-based company that tracks intellectual property development. That means other companies will have to pay Huawei to use key bits of 5G technology.

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Washington fears that Beijing will replace it as the world’s premier intelligence power and perhaps even deny it access to the networks that make global commerce and the projection of military power possible. For decades, U.S. intelligence agencies have capitalized on the central role of U.S. companies in global telecommunications networks to spy on adversaries and gather crucial intelligence.

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Consolidation and mergers in the telecommunications industry have made European, not American, companies the leading Western makers of the boxes, antennas, and beam-generating equipment that will serve as the backbone of 5G technology.

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Foreign production of advanced communication networks “will challenge U.S. competitiveness and data security,” and as American data increasingly flows across those networks, that will increase “the risk of foreign access and denial of service,” Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, warned in his annual assessment of threats facing the United States.

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Washington may be fighting a losing battle in frantically trying to get its Western allies to swear off Huawei as well. So dominant has Huawei already become in building telecom networks globally and vying to set the world standard for 5G that the Trump administration finds itself somewhat isolated, even among its closest allies.

Despite U.S. pressure, the European Union has opted against barring the Chinese firm, and even close U.S. allies such as Britain and Germany, which are still deciding which companies will participate in building their 5G networks, are unlikely to ban Huawei altogether. The reason is simple: For many European countries that already use Huawei equipment in their 4G networks, it would be costly to switch horses in midstream.

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Trump administration has done a poor job, by most accounts, of convincing European allies of the security risk posed by the company—a problem exacerbated by the president’s constant sniping at his counterparts across the Atlantic. Washington has never publicly presented evidence backing up its assertions that Huawei equipment plays a role in Chinese espionage operations, and there are doubts that it has shared much evidence in private either.

According to Schrader of the German Marshall Fund, if U.S. intelligence officials truly had clear evidence that Huawei was helping China to spy, they would be more “forward leaning” in sharing that information with allies.

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“The U.S. fundamentally believes that China would use Chinese companies—even private ones—for the same kinds of things that the U.S. uses American companies for,” Purdy said.

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For almost 200 years, China has largely been on the receiving end of technology developed elsewhere. Today, it is reasserting, in the most demonstrable way, the technological leadership it enjoyed long ago.

 

Cały artykuł tutaj:  The Improbable Rise of Huawei

Przy okazji przypomnę, że Huawei nie byłby tą firmą jaką jest bez amerykańskiej firmy IBM. Więcej na stronach WSJ z 2012 roku: Huawei’s Ally: IBM

PS. #1 Art udostępniony przez Alexa Poniewierskiego, #2 przez Przemka Gamdzyka. Dzięki chłopaki!

Piotr Mieczkowski

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