On 16 March, 2017, Huawei (West Europe) and Rotterdam School of Management set up a collaboration based on smart education and digital transformation, covering an overarching collaboration on research and education, between Europe and China. The leader of the collaboration programme, Professor Ying Zhang1, in this article shares her brief observations and ideas about Huawei’s success as the representative of Chinese multinationals.
Ren Zhengfei, as the founder and the “spiritual guru” of Huawei, has been legitimizing Huawei as a company for employees (with himself only sharing 1.4%). Most studies about Huawei’s success argues on its collective ownership structure, ignoring the foundation of such a structure from an ex-ante point of view, which not only grants employees an equal right to own their endeavours and returns on the basis of legal structure of “ownership legitimacy”, but also acknowledges and respects employees’ equal identity to strive for better conditions and collectiveness. Huawei is an employee-collectively-owned company, but is also a “planet” infused with respect to hardship, a strong striving attitude, and raising and praising strivers.
Therefore, the purpose of a company is altered, from being financial-oriented to collectively striving for collective goodness. This consists of two spheres of action: the value sphere and the system sphere. In the value sphere, Huawei sticks to the principles of being collaborative, open, striving, humble, abstracted in its core value: taking customers as the first and striving effort as the foundation (“以客户为中心,以奋斗者为本" in Chinese), being the foundation of Huawei culture, rooting in Huawei’s hearts; being upheld by Huawei people; and bringing Huawei to its current position and move forward (Huawei’s committments to their own core value). In its system sphere, working with stakeholders is the key. The value sphere acts as the axis of 'Huawei Planet', guaranteeing that Huawei is more self-conscious, while the system sphere serves as “Huawei Energy” to connect Huawei with each other (internal and external members) efficiently.
These two spheres have co-evolved. The value sphere of Huawei sticks to the tradition of Chinese philosophy (four spheres of living built on Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism - an innocent sphere, utilitarian sphere, moral sphere, and transcendent sphere), while the system sphere has been continuously upgraded by learning from the global leading partners. Thus, the concept of Huawei’s customer-first core value can be unfolded. The implementations of such are on Huawei’s daily strategy and behavior: (1) customer-centre is a mindset taking stakeholder-based views and the vision of helping the world prepare for a digital (sharing) economy, which paves a path to an equality-based social-economic structure. (2) collaboration implies learning to share with stakeholders on their concerns, values, tension, responsibility, benefits and by doing so, innovation can be emerged and respected, with joint endeavours with stakeholders. Examples of such are numerous, and happen everyday with Huawei’s stakeholders. The well-known cases are Huawei as the first one rescuing ICT infrastructure for clients, onset disasters, during the earthquake in Chile and Japan, as well as the war in Iraq and Libya.
To interpret Huawei’s success in an equation, I propose the collective prosperity that Huawei appreciates as the dependent variable; while being collaborative, open, being striving, being humble as independent variables. All the variables can be sub-categorized into the internal and the external, as well as subjected to individual, and to the sum. From an input point of view, collectiveness requires being open, being humble, and collaborative in both attitude and action, which I call it Mentality-Behavioral Property (MBP). From an output point of view, collectiveness implies generating open phenomena, shared platform/economy, humble culture, and striving with collaborators, which I call it Intellect Property (IP). IP can be referred to “the spirit”, while MBP can be referred to “the empowering process”. Importantly, this equation is not a one-time one-way simulation, but recycles over time, which means that MBP generates IP; IP endogenizes MBP. In terms of the cross-effect, Mentality-Intellect Property is served by the Value Sphere, while Behavioral Property is served by the System Sphere. Therefore, the Value-System Spheres, MBIP System, Four Spheres of Living all together (with an order) decode the Huawei’s success. Variables in this equation do not simply create effects (collective prosperity) alone; instead, taking effect by pairing the other team of concept/commands: “being competitive, being tough, and being ambitious”. The pairs are not conflicted, but complemented. Studying on Huawei’s catching up, being humble is for self to others and for self to be more self-conscious, while being tough is for self to self in immersing personal goals with company’s collective goals in order to approach to the moral sphere of living (or even beyond); being ambitious is for self to self in imprinting own-dream on company’s collective dream, however measured by being “competitive ”for self to self in striving for a better solution for clients (and other stakeholders).
In addition, this ideology of Zhong Yong (Doctrine of the Mean) in the tradition of Chinese philosophy within the stream of Confucianism is reflected in Huawei practice as well, where Huawei takes the notions of its application on being of objectivity, sincerity, honesty, and improvement through self-watchfulness (in one of ways of Zhong Yong’s guidance), meaning learning from others to improve self during the process of self-cultivation via self-education (high R&D investment), self-discipline(focusing and concentrating), and self-questioning (improving from problem-solving). In terms of collaborating with stakeholders, Huawei’s practice is reflected well by Zhong Yong’s guidance in Leniency where Huawei has been trying to perfect their capability in understanding, eliminating concerns, and holding tolerance towards stakeholders, particularly towards their customers (customer-centered strategy).
To some extent, it is not fair to simply claim the reason of Huawei’s catching up and its great success to their particular organizational culture, or their tougher system of management practice (as many discussions externally). In my view, the analysis regarding this should be holistic, meaning that we should not just focus on how well and how fast Huawei learned from western management practice and capable to tailor-make their management outfit but also must understand the role of their core value in such a holistic system. As discussion aforementioned, the value side and outfit (system) side are complemented and constitute Huawei’s catching up construction, by which Huawei is able to practice their daily management (which they either acquired or learned from collaborators (such as operational, accounting, and human resource management systems), and able to do self-cultivation process through self-education, self-discipline, and self-questioning. This mechanism is down to the core of their cognitive notion of carrying customer-first and thrive-pride value. Huawei is a perfect example of Chinese firms being thriving in a particular sector worldwide, by indigenously promoting an Eastern-Western integrative model that carries Chinese philosophy as the root and the best western management practice as the expression. This construction-derived application can be argued sourcing from the application of eco-system and stakeholder-view, and fundamentally benefiting from the tradition of Chinese philosophy where the sphere of living and the doctrine of the mean are taken into account.
To close, the definition of success is various, and the reasons for success are random. Judging Huawei as an entity of success or not needs to take on an extra condition which I stress as the setting of time-being and space-boundary. Success is only a status within time-being in a specific space. It can be a cause and same time can be a consequence. We shouldn’t take success as the reason to investigate a target while shouldn’t for a non-success. Success is a way, and additionally is on the way rather than on the destination. What is seen or heard differs from what is understood and believed. My experience working with Huawei people and years of collaborating with them formally and informally assure me that a less error-added methodology to understand others is an in-person emersion approach, meaning that allowing yourself to be part of the study target’s spheres of living, with a strong self-control towards no subjective judgment, being humble with study subjects, feeling what they feel, thinking what they think, speaking what they speak, paining what they pain, and most importantly believing in what they believe in the universe of Huawei’s “collective effort towards collective prosperity”.
1 Dr. Ying Zhang is an Associate Dean for China Business and a Professor on Entrepreneurship and Innovation, as well as the Founder of Erasmus-Huawei Collaboration Program, at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, the Netherlands. [email protected]
De-coupling from China would be the wrong way to go, Germany warns
The European Union needs to engage with China despite many differences instead of opting for a more isolationist approach, Germany said on Wednesday (21 April).
"In the EU, we have been describing China as a partner, competitor and systemic rival at the same time," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (pictured) said ahead of a virtual meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
"In all these three dimensions we need strong, sustainable communication channels with Beijing. De-coupling is the wrong way to go."
Berlin's warning against de-coupling is in line with Beijing's long-held position against disengagement among nations, including with China, despite mutual differences.
Last month, China was hit by a round of coordinated sanctions from the United States, European Union, Britain and Canada over reports of forced labour in the far western Chinese region of Xinjiang, accusations that Beijing rejects.
Ties between China and Germany have generally remained stable since last year, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said later in his meeting with Maas.
Wang also said major economies like China and Germany should jointly resist any de-coupling, and instead seek to uphold the stability of global industrial and supply chains, according to a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry.
At the same time, China does not approve of any re-drawing of ideological lines, and is even more opposed to engaging in “small cliques”, and even arbitrarily imposing unilateral sanctions based on false information, Wang said.
Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden met with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in his first face-to-face White House summit since taking office, where both leaders said they shared serious concerns about the human rights situation in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
In a show of economic cooperation to the exclusion of China, Biden said Japan and the United States would jointly invest in the tech sector including semiconductor supply chains.
China’s Xi calls for fairer world order as rivalry with US deepens
Chinese President Xi Jinping (pictured) on Tuesday (20 April) called for a rejection of hegemonic power structures in global governance, amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over a widening range of issues including alleged human rights abuses, writes Kevin Yao.
Speaking at the annual Boao Forum for Asia, Xi criticized efforts by some countries to "build barriers" and "decouple", which he said would harm others and benefit no one.
China has long called for reforms of the global governance system to better reflect a more diverse range of perspectives and values from the international community, including its own, instead of those of a few major nations.
It has also repeatedly clashed with the biggest stakeholders in world governance, particularly the United States, over a range of issues from human rights to China's economic influence over other countries.
"The world wants justice, not hegemony," Xi said in remarks broadcast to the forum.
"A big country should look like a big country by showing that it is shouldering more responsibility," he said.
While Xi did not identify any country in his remarks, Chinese officials have in recent times referred to US “hegemony” in public criticisms of Washington’s global projection of power in trade and geopolitics.
On Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden held his first face-to-face White House summit since taking office, in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in which China topped the agenda.
Both leaders said they "share serious concerns" about the human rights situation in Hong Kong and China's Xinjiang region, where Washington has said Beijing is perpetrating a genocide against Muslim Uighurs. China has denied abuses.
In a display of economic cooperation to the exclusion of China, Biden said Japan and the United States would jointly invest in areas such as 5G technology, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, genomics and semiconductor supply chains.
As the Biden administration rallies other democratic allies to harden their stance on China, Beijing is seeking to strengthen ties with its autocratic partners and economically dependent neighbours in Southeast Asia.
Chinese speakers at the Boao forum, Asia's answer to Davos, also affirmed Beijing's commitment to global free trade.
China's trade practices were a focus of an intense tariff war between Beijing and Washington under the Trump administration, with the United States accusing Beijing of unfair subsidiaries that give Chinese companies unfair advantage abroad and forced transfers of technology and intellectual property.
"The biggest experience that China's accession to the World Trade Organization 20 years ago is that we Chinese are not afraid of competition," Long Yongtu，China's former chief negotiator for the China's WTO entry in 2001, told the forum on Monday (19 April).
However, despite the persistent confrontation between the US administration and China, both sides have rediscovered a common interest in battling climate change, after bilateral talks on fighting greenhouse emissions fizzled out during the Trump era.
Last week, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry flew to Shanghai to meet with his Chinese counterpart in the first high-level visit to China by a Biden administration official.
Both agreed on concrete actions “in the 2020s” to reduce emissions.
Competition: EU and China will discuss competition policy priorities in the digital sector during the 21st Competition Week
Officials from the EU and China will meet online from 26 to 28 April 2021 for technical discussions on competition law and enforcement. The 21st EU-China Competition Week will focus on subsidy cases under the Fair Competition Review System that China started implementing in 2016. It will also deal with the co-operation between the European Commission and EU member states with respect to state aid cases as well as Regulation and policy initiatives to address competition concerns in digital markets. The Competition Weeks offer a platform for exchanges on competition policy between the Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) and the European Commission together with EU National Competition Authorities. The Competition Weeks are the cornerstone of the longstanding competition dialogue between the competition authorities of the EU and China in line with the commitments set out in the Memoranda of Understanding and Terms of Reference signed between all sides. The EU-China Competition Week is part of the Competition Co-operation project, a 5-year EU funded programme offering technical co-operation to competition authorities in Asia. The objective is to exchange experiences and strengthen convergence in competition policy, to the benefit of citizens and businesses in both the EU and Asia. More information about the European Commission's bilateral dialogue with China in the field of competition policy is available on the Commission's website.
Immigration4 days ago
Asylum and migration in the EU: Facts and figures
EU4 days ago
EU-India: Boosting co-operation from trade to climate
coronavirus4 days ago
Merkel says lockdowns and curfews vital to break Germany's third wave
Alcohol4 days ago
Trends in alcohol consumption in Europe continue their positive course
EU4 days ago
EU and UK step up N. Ireland talks as EU continues legal action
European Green Deal3 days ago
Green taxation: Join today's online event with Executive Vice President Timmermans and Commissioner Gentiloni
EU3 days ago
Conference on the Future of Europe: Make your voice heard
coronavirus4 days ago
Europe must back Biden to lift vaccine patents, says Mary Robinson