For all its recent success, Huawei’s accession to the global scene has been awkward. Its corporate culture tends to come off somewhere between xenophobic and absurd to local critics. Sample headline published last year in the Times of India: “Huawei Technologies Bans Indians in India.” (Huawei says there’s no discrimination at its Indian facilities.) More pressing, though, is the reputational baggage tied to the company’s founder. Pundits wonder whether China’s premier technology company, a privately held organization run by an ex-deputy director of the army’s engineering corps and former delegate to the Communist Party’s national congress, can overcome suspicions among politicians, security officials, and would-be customers outside China. “Huawei is a large company with state-owned interests involved, and also Chinese military linkages,” says Srikanth Kondapalli, a professor at the Center for East Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. “So one of the concerns is what these guys are up to.”
PUBLISHED: Sept. 17, 2011
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3324 words)
Robin Li—the 41-year-old, American-educated chief executive officer of the Chinese search engine Baidu—has a fan club. And each year at the Baidu World conference in Beijing, the members of the Robin Li fan club come out to get close to the object of their worship. When Li emerges from a dark blue sedan, the fan club mobs him, waving signs and screaming his name while Li poses for pictures with a tight, uncomfortable smile before darting into the building to rehearse his keynote address. The exuberance, club members say later, was coordinated by Baidu. "If I want to know about what happens abroad, I will use Google," says one of the students. "Baidu's information is influenced by the government so much."
PUBLISHED: Nov. 12, 2010
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4523 words)