M Executives consider themselves numbers of great importance, but few are able to send shivers through global markets simply by being arrested. Meng Wanzhou, also known as Sabrina Meng or Cathy Meng, is one of them.
The Chief Financial Officer of Chinese telecommunications company Huawei – and billionaire's daughter Ren Zhengfei ̵
Meng's arrest and Beijing's demand that she be released by the Chinese media under allegations of "hooliganism" Hopeless hope for a thaw in tensions between the US and China. The chances of rapprochement had apparently increased after a 90-day ceasefire was agreed between the two countries at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.
Equity markets in the US, UK and Europe – already terrible time for relations between the two largest economies in the world during this period – investors turned on Tuesday and Thursday as investors considered the possibility of a renewed tariff escalation, which undermine an already fragile world economy.
With the arrest of the Financial Director, the company is at the center of the world Huawei is no stranger to questioning with open distrust. Participation in the installation of 5G mobile networks in India, New Zealand and Australia was banned, no acquisitions were made in the US, and the sale of cell phones to military bases by the Pentagon was banned.
There is no official ban in the United States of America, but BT has excluded Huawei's telecommunications infrastructure from its own 5G rollout and removed some of its devices from the 4G network.
Concerns about Huawei seem to come, at least in part, from the story of 74-year-old founder Ren, who spent a long time working with the People's Liberation Army, where he worked as an engineer, and the Communist Party. In addition, his company has developed into a global colossus, the world's largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment, which is sold in 170 countries. It overtook Apple earlier this year and within three months became the world's second largest smartphone maker behind Samsung.
Despite his great achievements, Huawei never managed to eradicate the unprecedented cloud of suspicion both Ren and his creation. Given the scale of espionage and cyber-attacks originating in China and targeting nations and corporations alike, questions were inevitably raised about the security implications of using Huawei's technology.
It's after all a company that was founded by a military tech expert. The concern focused on whether Huawei's kit could be used to spy on foreign competitors, steal intellectual property, or even install kill-switches on energy or industrial projects. Some analysts have warned that in the event of a conflict, Beijing could use hidden backdoors in Huawei's technology to shut down a foreign power infrastructure at the touch of a button.
Ren himself has attempted in his relatively rare public appearances to reject these concerns as a scare tactic. At the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2015, he told an audience, "There's no way we can invade other people's systems, and we've never received such a request from the Chinese government."
Of course, that's exactly what you'd expect from a spy.
But the real question is not so much whether Huawei is a covert spy operation, but whether it might be forced to become one. First of all, Chinese companies – and Huawei is no exception – typically have a Communist Party committee in their corporate architecture. What these committees do or how much influence they exert is hard to estimate.
A new national secret service law, which came into force last year, could be even more worrying. Article 7 of the Law states: "All organizations and citizens must, in accordance with the law, assist, cooperate and work with the national intelligence services and protect the secrecy of secrecy of the national intelligence services known to them.
"The state will protect individuals and organizations that support, collaborate and collaborate on national intelligence work.
Alarming conditions such as these make the status of Huawei's leader under the governments believe something, even if there is no hard evidence to support their fears
The company has gone to great lengths to address its image problem by employing legions of public relations consultants and enabling the GCHQ to apply the rules of its technology to a dedicated center in Banbury, Oxfordshire. The company even hired the UK's former Chief Information Officer, John Suffolk, as Global Cyber Security Officer.
Suffolk himself has indicated that any fears of Huawei should also apply to any company involved in projects of national importance. "Do not believe anyone and check everything," he told the economist
The problem with Huawei seems to be that, no matter how closely it is examined, the facts of the founder's past – coupled with the global significance of Telecommunications – means that it can never benefit the doubts.
According to Ren, the name of the company comes from a patriotic slogan he saw one day on a wall: Zhhonghua Youwei, or "China makes a difference." Unfortunately, for Huawei, this difference seems to be an aura of Mistrust that makes it almost impossible to escape.
The arrest of Huawei's Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, has not only brought the company into focus, but also to its founder, her father, Ren Zhengfei. [MuchofHuawei'sdoubtsaboutHuaweistemfromRen'sbackgroundinthePeople'sLiberationArmybetween1974and1983whereheworkedasanengineer
Rens Ragged Weapons Climbing up is part of Huawei's official story The 74-year-old grew up in a remote mountain town in southwestern Guizhou Province, and studied at the Chongqing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture and later "accidentally" joined the military in the 1970s when the substance was rationed and the government hired anyone with a college education to produce synthetic fabric manufacturing equipment. [19659041RenZhengfei"src="https://iguimcouk/img/media/5fd3a1ae27503cd74888f28076fc941eab81ea4b/0_3_1596_1995/master/1596jpg?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=7fdfbf515063e08bec45684b9acfcc0d"/>
After leaving the army, Ren landed in Shenzhen and designated a special economic zone as part of China's transition to a market economy. He launched Huawei with approximately 4,000 pounds of capital from five investors and no obvious plan. "It was not as romantic as you imagine," he recalls. "It was not that wonderful."
In 2013, Ren said he had considered renaming his creation. "For many years there has been a debate in our company about whether we should change that name. Recently, we decided not to change it. We will teach foreigners how to pronounce it, and not always say "Hawaii," he told The Beijing Times . For the uninitiated Huawei is considered "hoo-ah-way".
When his company became one of China's largest tech companies, employing more than 180,000 people, Ren remained reluctant. Most of his international media appear to be geared to dispelling doubts about the Chinese military's connection with his or her company.
Nevertheless, Ren's communist party continues to be persecuted by Ren. He has been a member since 1978 and was invited to his 12th National Congress in 1982. On the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening this year, Ren was named one of 100 "excellent private entrepreneurs" who "have a firm grip on the company's leadership of the Chinese Communist Party." Critics also point to the company's status as one of China's "national champions" – companies whose global expansion is considered as being in the national interest.
Ren owns about 1% of Huawei and is said to be able to control most important decisions. in some cases still as a military unit, although it was reportedly shared with three rotating chief executives. A memo leaked in 2017 called on employees to take on 21 "military disciplines".
While Ren repeatedly said that none of his children would succeed, Meng was considered the successor to her father. Lily Kuo and Kate Lyons
Additional coverage by Wang Xueying