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Huawei is an information and communication technology company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. Founded by Ren Zhengfei in 1987, the company initially manufactured telephone exchange switches and later expanded to telecommunications networks. A global company, Huawei claims to have deployed its products and services in more than 170 countries. In 2012, it overtook Ericsson as the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world.
Huawei forayed into the mobile phone business in 2003, and shipped its first phone, the Huawei C300, in 2004. The company’s mobile phone division was among the first to adopt Google’s Android operating system. In 2012, its first Android-based smartphone, the Huawei U8220, was unveiled at the annual Mobile World Congress technology event. In partnership with Google, the company launched the Huawei Nexus 6P in 2015. Over the years, the company has developed its own Emotion user interface, which is a customised version of the Android operating system with additional tools and features powering most of its smartphones now. Huawei is China’s largest smartphone manufacturer and the world’s second-largest, next only to South Korea’s Samsung.
Huawei has a subsidiary named Honor that also designs and sells smartphones. It was initially started as an original design manufacturer (ODM), but in 2019 it was made an independent original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
Besides, Huawei also has a subsidiary that designs and builds mobile phone chipsets. Named HiSilicon, the subsidiary develops system-on-chips based on architecture licensed from ARM that are exclusive to Huawei’s devices. HiSilicon was the first chipmaker to introduce a dedicated neural processing unit for handling artificial intelligence and machine learning operations in smartphones. In 2018, the chipmaker also became the first to introduce a 7NM-based mobile phone chipset, the Kirin 980, and a 5G-ready Balong 5000 modem. In 2019, Huawei also unveiled its first foldable device concept called Huawei Mate X.
Though the company has a global presence, it faced some difficulty in certain regions over alleged espionage and cyber security breach. In May 2019, Huawei was restricted from doing commerce with US companies, tossing the company’s 5G rollout plans and smartphone business. However, in June 2019, US president Donald Trump eased the sanctions earlier on Huawei by allowing Google to license its Android platform to Huawei.