Sun Yafang, chairperson, Huawei

Few companies have established influence in the mobile industry as quickly and effectively as Chinese infrastructure vendor Huawei.

The firm has made the most of a cheap labour force, state-sponsored finance packages, an unwavering commitment to R&D irrespective of the macroeconomic environment (ten per cent of revenue is ploughed into research and development) and an unquenchable thirst for success. It now claims to serve 45 of the top 50 operators globally.

Huawei is also unique among the market’s leading vendors in having a female chairperson in Sun Yafang, who has held the position since 1999. According to Huawei, Sun is “credited as the key contributor to the establishment and development of Huawei’s marketing and sales division and human resources leadership development.

Huawei’s early forays into the telecoms market outside of China were hampered by cultural differences and problems with communication. It is Sun, Huawei says, who has led the firm’s progress in this area, “Ms Sun has spearheaded management reforms that have helped to transform Huawei into a multi-national corporation seen as a leading vendor in the telecoms industry,” Huawei says.

Sun will now need to ensure that Huawei can be seen as a viable partner for the provision of outsourcing and managed services deals with carriers. It is in these areas that the incumbent Western vendors retain significant leadership.

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