China has now its share of high powered movers and shakers in the IT world. We all know how Lenovo masterfully played the strokes with its IBM PC division to become the global PC brand. How about the other big name there, Huawei?
If only reading the past stories about them in the western press, one would easily assume Huawei to be just a – very big one, though – plagiarizer of glorious western technology marvels in the networking and telecoms business, especially damaging to the once leading show in town, Cisco. While part of their business seemed a bit like that, the reality is that Huawei grew way beyond that level, and the new aspirations seem to be very serious, on the global level.
The staff in Huawei's Shenzhen outfit – not a small one mind you, with a square mile-sized campus of some 60,000 workers – shared with us some interesting stories. Firstly, the general Huawei strategy now, ordered from the very top, is not to be the new Cisco, but the new IBM. In this contest, it means controlling everything: from the whole hardware stack, including their own CPUs, own servers and of course own telecoms and networking stuff, improving the software stack, to much stronger solutions and services arm.
While the ARM handphone CPU Huawei has is just the beginning, despite its seemingly very high performance, they argue the real push will come at the high end, especially servers, since the company wants to become the dominant player in the field. It'd be interesting to see which CPUs they would use there, aside from the obligatory Intel lines, since China is abound now with its own high end CPU offerings.
Keep in mind that, while it may be associated with Chinese government and even PLA these days, Huawei had quite humble, enterprising beginnings. So, dismissing all this as a party-ordered big time plan would be a big mistake. As far as we're told, they are dead serious on this, and there's plenty of money and other resources to back the plan. More to come as we hear!