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.”
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