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Huawei Technologies Co chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou speaks to students at Duyun No 1 High School in the southwestern province of Guizhou on September 2, 2022. Photo: Duyun No 1 High School

Huawei CFO Meng Wangzhou speaks of ‘twists and turns’, need for ‘hard work’ at rare public appearance in southwest China

  • Huawei’s chief financial officer said ‘unprecedented challenges’ face the company in her speech at alma mater Duyun No 1 High School
  • She said Huawei has continued to provide incentives to its employees, while dealing with various problems
Huawei Technologies Co chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on Friday made a rare public speech in the southwestern province of Guizhou, where she brought up the struggles faced by the company and how talent and continuous hard work can solve problems.
That motivational speech was delivered to students at Duyun No 1 High School, the alma mater of Meng as well as her father Ren Zhengfei, the founder and chief executive of Shenzhen-based Huawei.

“At the moment, Huawei is enduring and facing unprecedented challenges, and it is a journey full of twists and turns,” Meng said, without elaborating. “The core [means] to solve all problems lies in talent, and we will always adhere to an open attitude towards talent.”

Meng, who also serves as Huawei’s rotating chairwoman and deputy chairwoman, also told her audience that the company has continued to provide incentives to employees and build cafes and libraries on its campuses, while dealing with various problems, according to the speech published by the school.


Huawei founder shares his relationship with family and his personality

Huawei founder shares his relationship with family and his personality

“The future is not built from thrift, but created through continuous investment and hard work,” she said.

The uplifting message from Meng, 50, provided a sharp contrast to Ren’s leaked internal memo, which went viral on Chinese social media last week. His message painted a gloomy picture of a world heading into economic recession, while calling on Huawei employees to focus on the company’s survival and give up on wishful thinking.
Huawei has been scrambling to adapt its production of smartphones and telecommunications network equipment amid tightened trade restrictions imposed by Washington in 2020, covering access to semiconductors developed or produced using US technology, from anywhere.
While first-half revenue for Huawei fell 5.9 per cent year on year to 301.6 billion yuan (US$44.7 billion), the pace of decline narrowed from the firm’s 13.9 per cent sales decrease in the first quarter.
Yet the company’s total 2021 revenue of 636.8 billion yuan, which was down 29 per cent from a year earlier, was its worst annual sales performance on record.

Huawei’s headcount shrinks for first time since 2008

Meng’s speech at Duyun No 1 High School marked her latest public appearance since she presided over the presentation of Huawei’s 2021 financial performance at its headquarters in March.

At the time, Meng assured the event’s attendees that Huawei was “more capable of dealing with uncertainty”.

Upon her return to China in a chartered flight last September after nearly three years under house arrest in Canada, Meng was hailed as a national hero and her release seen as a diplomatic victory.

Meng reached a deal with prosecutors in New York the same month. That effectively resolved a US fraud case that had kept Meng in legal limbo in Vancouver since late 2018, as she fought extradition to the US. The case involved HSBC and US sanctions against Iran.

It remains unclear whether Meng would succeed Ren, 77, at the helm of Huawei, which continues to pursue various initiatives to diversify and grow its business under US trade sanctions.