THREEHuaweiTechnology Dictates, but Politics Still Counts

Use the countryside to surround the cities.

—Strategy attributed to Mao Zedong

IN EARLY NOVEMBER 2010, executives at China’s Huawei Technologies anxiously awaited the fate of their bid to upgrade the wireless network for Sprint Nextel, one of the largest telephone companies in the United States. With worldwide sales of roughly $30 billion a year, Huawei already provided some of the world’s most advanced telephone switching gear to 45 of the world’s top 50 telecom companies, including BT (British Telecom), Orange (part of France Telecom), Vodafone Spain, Telefonica, and KPN, as well as carriers in a number of emerging markets in Eastern Europe and the Pacific Rim. The company had 60,000 ...

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