Huawei is a big company

Who actually belongs to Huawei? - the answer

Panagiotis Kolokythas

Huawei is currently asking its Twitter users whether they know who Huawei actually belongs to. Do you know it? The complicated answer ...

EnlargeHuawei Poll on Twitter: Who Owns Huawei?

Huawei has gotten into the middle of the US-China trade war and has suffered the consequences after Google revoked its Android license. This week Huawei will present its first smartphone with its Android alternative, but you shouldn't expect as much from the device as we explain in this report.

The public seems to be confused about who actually belongs to Huawei. Huawei recently put the question to its followers on Twitter under the hashtag #WhoRunsHuawei.

The answer options are available:

  • The government

  • Financial institutions

  • Consortia

  • The employees

A current look at the results of the survey shows: 42 percent assume that Huawei belongs to the Chinese government. The answer option "the employees" lands in second place with 26 percent. Financial institutions (17%) and consortia (15%) follow in the other places.

Huawei heard ... the correct answer is complicated

The company is said to have close ties to the Chinese government. Regardless of whether these allegations or assumptions are actually true. The question "Who owns Huawei?" the answer fits: the employees. The more specific answer is a bit more complicated because Huawei is a Chinese company.

Huawei was founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei with very little capital. According to official information from the company, Zhengfei now owns approximately one percent of all shares. Huawei specifies the number of employees with a total of 180,000 employees. All remaining shares belong to Huawei employees with Chinese citizenship.

How many shares an employee owns depends on how long he has been with Huawei and what position he has at Huawei. The shares cannot be sold or passed on by the employees. The number of shares also determines how hardworking an employee is and what special payments he is entitled to as a result. In addition, employees also receive dividends for their shares.

New employees do not initially receive any shares, but only after a certain period of time. If an employee leaves the company, they must also return their shares to the company and receive compensation for this.

Although the Chinese employees own the shares in Huawei, they have no direct say. As much is known, a committee is elected by the employees. The people who are available for election are given. At the election, a 115-member representative commission is elected, which in turn elects the management board and the supervisory board.

Due to the many peculiarities and restrictions, the Huawei shares that the employees own are not shares as we know them. This means that they do not have direct ownership of any part of the company.

And what about the foreign Huawei employees? The Huawei Austria boss recently told the Austrian "Kronen Zeitung" that a "pot for foreign employees" would be formed from part of the company, with which long-term employees who do not have Chinese citizenship will be rewarded.

The extent of the influence of the Chinese government on Huawei's decisions is controversial abroad. To the outside world, Huawei always presents itself as an independent, private company that cannot be compared with a typical Chinese state-owned company. On the other hand, trade unions in China, which are directly linked to the Chinese government, also play an influential and important role. There are therefore suspicions that the Chinese government can exert significantly more influence on Huawei than Huawei externally admits.

Because of this lack of clarity as to how far the Chinese government can influence Huawei decisions, the Trump administration has put Huawei on the list of Chinese companies that are subject to restrictions on trade with the United States.