Huawei’s successor is clearly ready for life after a three-year Canadian court battle


© Reuters File Photo: Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou left his home on August 10, 2021, to attend a court hearing in Vancouver, Canada. Reuters / Jennifer Gauthier / File photo


Written by Moira Warburton and Sarah Berman

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzu was set to return home to China on Friday after being stranded in Canada for nearly three years, originally confined to his multibillion-dollar home in Vancouver Huawei-CFO-Meng-Appearance-Court-Expected-Reach-Agreement-Our-Source-2021-09-24

Like many top Chinese executives, Meng has remained a mysterious figure. The F-year-old CFO of Huawei Technologies was one day widely advised to take the lead in the tech giant founded by his father.

To thwart those expectations, Meng201 was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 on charges of bank fraud against him on a U.S. warrant for alleged fraud by HSBC Holdings (NYSE) over Huawei’s business dealings in Iran.

After Meng reached an agreement with U.S. prosecutors to resolve the case on Friday, a Canadian judge canceled his extradition hearing.

Later, the Canadian government issued a statement confirming that he was free to leave the country. A source familiar with the matter said he was scheduled to leave for China later on Friday.

“My life has turned upside down in the last three years. As a mother, it was a disruptive time for me as a wife,” Meng told reporters and supporters as he stepped outside the Vancouver courtroom after the hearing.

“But I believe every cloud has a silver lining. It was truly an invaluable experience of my life. I will never forget all the greetings I received from people around the world,” he said.

Meng has not appeared in public since his arrest, but he smiled as he left home Friday morning to attend a virtually conducted court hearing between Vancouver and Brooklyn, New York.

The arrest of Meng, who took his family name from his mother and used the English first names “Kathy” and “Sabrina”, threw a spotlight on Huawei amid global concerns over technology security.

During dozens of court appearances, his lawyers portrayed him as an innocent pedestrian trapped in a trade war between the United States and China.

Shortly after his arrest, China detained two Canadians, sentenced one to 11 years in prison this month, and attacked the Canadians in retaliation. Beijing has denied any connection between the arrest and Meng’s case.

Meng was under house arrest in Vancouver. Under his bail conditions, he was allowed to roam the city during the day and return to his home in the Pacific coastal city of Shaugnesi at night. He was monitored 24/7 through personal security, which he provided as part of his bail agreement.

Her husband Liu Xiaojong and their son and daughter have been able to meet her during the epidemic. He spent time with oil painting, reading and work, according to an open letter to Huawei employees on the first anniversary of his arrest.

According to Huawei’s website, Meng joined the company in 1993, earned a master’s degree from Huajong University of Science and Technology in 1998, and was promoted year after year, mostly in financial roles.

He is the Director of the Department of International Accounting, the CFO of Huawei Hong Kong, and the President of the Department of Accounting Management.

When he first appeared in front of Chinese media in 2013, Meng said he first joined the company as a secretary “whose job was just to make calls.”

In 2011, he was first nominated as a board member. Company insiders describe him as capable and hardworking.

Although his brother, Meng Ping, as well as his father’s younger brother and his current wife all work for Huawei and related companies, no one has taken on such senior management responsibilities.

Meng is widely seen by Huawei insiders as a possible successor to the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei. Ren, 76, founded a Chinese telecommunications company in 1988 and basically kept a low profile.

Most of Huawei’s screenings are based on Ren’s background with the People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA), where he worked as a civil engineer for nearly a decade after helping build his communications network in 1983.

Some governments, especially U.S. officials, have expressed concern that his company is close to the Chinese military and government. Huawei has repeatedly insisted that it has no influence over Beijing.

At the time of Meng’s arrest, Huawei’s revenues were equally divided between domestic and international revenues, half of which came from equipment supplies to global telecom carriers.

But since then, Western nations have distanced themselves from Chinese technology giants. In 2019, then-US President Donald Trump blacklisted Huawei for export and barred access to critical technology of U.S. origin, affecting the ability of outside vendors to design their own chips and source material.

The ban puts Huawei’s handset business under extreme pressure, with the company selling its budget smartphone unit to a consortium of agents and dealers in November 2020.

The company’s consumer sales now account for more than half of its business, with revenue% coming from China, according to its 2020 annual report.

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