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Media reports and MPs have made a series of comments concerning Huawei inferring that it is an opaque organization under the control of the Chinese Communist Party. Since neither the UK media and many MPs are highly unreliable sources of factual information we decided to check out for ourselves "what" Huawei is.

Huawei was founded in 1987 as a producer of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and related devices. Their mission is to create a fully connected "intelligent world" by provide everyone with access to a leading edge communications network.

Huawei is a private mutual wholly owned by its employees. It has a share owning scheme involving over 100,000 employees. As a mutual, no government agency or outside organization holds shares in Huawei.

As a mutual, Huawei has a employee representative commission made up of 115 employee elected members. This commission elected the Chairman of the Board and 16 Board directors. The Board of Directors in turn elects four deputy chairs and three executive directors. Three deputy chairs rotate as chairman each leading the Board of Directors and Executive Committee during their session. The Board decides corporate strategy and operations management, and is responsible for customer satisfaction. Chairmen also chair the representative commission that decides important matters including profit distribution and capital increases.

As a company, Huawei works with customers, partners and other parties. In order to cultivate a broader ecosystem to drive technological advance and develop know how, Huawei works closely with suppliers, partners, industry organizations, open source communities, standards organizations, universities, and research institutes all over the world.

According to SEEL, as in the case of UK mutuals, Huawei's mutual structure gives it a 10-15% costs advantage over external share holding, plc type companies. Unlike some mutuals, Huawei has been able to maintain a significant level of shared experience of the personnel in the company by applying incentive payment schemes. As a result the speed of learning and build up of tacit as well as explicit knowledge is high and continues apace. The maintenance of these characteristics has created a highly motivated company and this can keep Huawei ahead of the market both in terms of know how and costs.

There is nothing unusual to Huawei's success since this operational structure was identified as the preferable basis for developing AI by a European Commission ITTTF application development team in 1986. The alternative options, selected by the Japanese MITI driven solution failed. On the other hand Japanese companies did adopt this structure in the case of robotics which turned out to be highly successful.