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Leadership, Culture, and Connectivity

First Edition
  • Tian Tao - Director of Ruihua Innovative Research Institute at Zhejiang University
  • David De Cremer - Cambridge University, UK
  • Wu Chunbo - Professor, School of Public Administration, Renmin University of China

October 2016 | 424 pages | SAGE Response

The inspirational business story of Huawei: how to grow from start up to world leader in two decades…

With over 170,000 employees in more than 170 countries and regions, serving more than one-third of the world's population, how does entrepreneur Ren Zhengfei manage a telcoms giant called Huawei?  What is the secret to Huawei’s global success?

In 1987, a 44-year-old man founded a telecom equipment-trading firm in Shenzhen, China, with start-up capital of $5,000.  In 29 years, it grew to become the largest telecoms company in the world. 

This book goes behind the scenes to explore the story of what Ren Zhengfei did differently, how the company he started reached the top spot, and why Huawei is known as a "collective" and not a private company:

  • Learn how this Chinese start up business became an international success
  • Understand the business strategy, leadership skills and management philosophy of Huawei’s entrepreneurial founder
  • Get tips, inspiration and motivation for your own business start-up.

14 years of meticulous research and 136 senior management and employee interviews reveal how Huawei's international business success lies in its ability to transform the intellectual elite into a band of soldiers with the same set of values and resolve, while at the same time preventing a culture of subservience.

This fascinating story provides a unique glimpse into the machinations of one of the world’s most powerful companies. 

"The company serves as an example for many Chinese entrepreneurs striving to go global, and also presents valuable lessons for Western companies striving to integrate Eastern and Western values and ways of looking at business." - Co-author David De Cremer, KPMG Professor of Management Studies at Cambridge Judge Business School 

Foreword by Simon Murray
Foreword by Admiral William (Bill) A. Owens
Foreword by Mikael Lindstrom
Preface: No One is an Authority on the Huawei Story
Introduction: Business Management Philosophy: The Mysterious Power behind Huawei’s Success
Common Sense and Truth: Customer Centricity
The Soul of Business: Dedication is the Key to Success
Openness: A Matter of Life and Death
Compromise: The Law of the Jungle
Philosophy of Grayness: Fueling and Controlling Desire
Self-criticism: Vitality is the Soul of An Organization
On Change (I): Seven Prohibitions and Eight Symptoms
On Change (II): Purpose Above All
Leadership at Huawei: The Essence and Application of Power and Influence
Addendum: Future Shock and China’s Opportunities

“One of the attributes of Huawei is that the company has gone global, reaching a relevant position in Europe and addressing the [United States]. The US government, however, is slowing down the process of Huawei entering the [US] market on suggestions that Huawei could get access to critical US government information. No question Huawei is the result of the entrepreneurial effort of Ren Zhengfei. The book allows [one] to get some understanding of the entrepreneur, his philosophy, the culture he wants to establish in Huawei, and the process to do it.

Few of the leading Chinese companies have taken relevant positions internationally. For a high-technology company, addressing the international markets is an important challenge. But Huawei has managed to have thousands of employees outside China and satisfy important customers in many countries. The book helps in understanding the approaches followed by Huawei. Mr. Ren Zhengfei has been capable of pioneering the development of technology while growing in the world. Obviously this has required a strict control of information, which attaches a flavor of secrecy and even mystery to the behavior of Mr. Ren Zhengfei. He has maintained the company as private and his management style has been extremely unconventional.

The book by Tian Tao and Wu Chunbo is an extraordinary research effort to analyze and describe a very complex reality and a very special entrepreneur. It is a very valuable work to understand entrepreneurship in our complex world.” 

Dr. Pedro Nueno,
President, Chengwei Ventures Chair Professor of Entrepreneurship, CEIBS, China

“Over the course of the last quarter century, Huawei has become one of the most important telecommunications companies in the world and, arguably, one of the most powerful Chinese companies in the global economy. Yet, there is much that is not known about Huawei and much that is misunderstood. As the foremost authority on Huawei in the world, Tian Tao brings deep knowledge and unprecedented access to help pull back the veil on one of the world’s most enigmatic companies. This book will be essential reading for politicians, pundits, and anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of this important company.” 

Dr Doug Guthrie
Professor and Former Dean at the George Washington School of Business and Author of Dragon in a Three-piece Suit: The Emergence of Capitalism in China

“Huawei is a prominent company, among the most successful and most internationalized in China. This book offers insights to readers, allowing them to truly understand Huawei, its management philosophy and culture, and the special leadership approaches of Ren Zhengfei.”

John A. Quelch
Charles Edward Wilson Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

“As a long-time observer and friend of China, I have watched with admiration the global growth and innovative strategy of Huawei. This book will give readers a special insight into Huawei’s capacity and entrepreneurial drive under the dedicated leadership of Mr. Ren Zhengfei.”

Kerry Matthew Stokes AC
Executive Chairman, Seven Group Holdings Limited, Australia

“This is the most complete book about Huawei I have ever read.”

Liu Chuanzhi,
Founder of Lenovo

“Over the past two decades, Huawei has composed an amazing epic in the business world. It started from an emerging market and conquered the global market. What is the code of success? This book offers the most reliable answers.”

Qin Suo,
Mediaperson, former Editor-in-Chief of CBN Daily

“This book does not present the business history of Huawei only; it also highlights the evolution of the business philosophy of Ren Zhengfei, the boss of the company. Huawei is Mount Everest in the mind’s eye of all Chinese businessmen, and Ren Zhengfei has behaved like a hermit living in a cave. He has not created any precept or claimed any truth. As the closest observers of Ren Zhengfei, Tian Tao and Wu Chunbo are the most likely authors to tell us the precepts and truths of Ren Zhengfei.”

Niu Wenwen,
Publisher and Creator, The Founder Magazine

“Huawei is a private-owned company. It is highly sensitive to technological changes. It is the real multinational based in China. These facts reflect the alertness, adaptability, and conviction of Ren Zhengfei, the top leader of Huawei. Ren is a unique manager and his speeches have been widely quoted because they offer great philosophical delights. This book is full of such delights, which you cannot miss.”

Liu Zhouwei,
Founder, 21st Century Business Herald

“This book offers insights to readers, allowing them to truly understand Huawei, its management philosophy and culture, and the special leadership approaches of Ren Zhengfei.” 

John A Quelch,
Charles Edward Wilson Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

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