Before the US-China high-level trade war, most senior executives at Huawei were apprehensive, even when they became the world's leading telecom network equipment manufacturer and defeated. Apple is the second largest global smartphone brand after Samsung.
But the head of mobile Richard Yu Chengdong is an exception.
Known by Chinese netizens as "Big Mouth Yu" (Big Mouth Yu) because of the tendency to say his big things, Mr. Yu has always been a voice for the ambition to rise to the top of Huawei's smartphone village. even when Chinese companies are caught in the middle of this war.
Born in 1969, Yu earned his doctorate from China's prestigious Tsinghua University, before joining Huawei in 1993.
Since joining the company, he has been in many positions, such as 3G product manager, wireless network vice president, chairman of the wireless network product line, president of the European division. , head of strategy and marketing, before becoming chairman of equipment business. Yu is currently the CEO of consumer devices business, including smartphones, laptops and other 5G devices, and one of the company's rotating presidents.
Bringing Huawei into the European telecommunications market
As a member of Huawei's board of directors, Yu was often praised for leading the company on the way to invade the European market since 2004.
At the time, Telfort, the smallest of the four telecommunications service providers in the Netherlands, wanted to deploy 3G networks but encountered price and real estate barriers to placing broadcast stations. They started negotiating with Huawei, then a small unit was established in Europe with only a handful of employees.
Mr. Yu introduced Huawei network equipment in 2018.
Huawei now aspires to penetrate the European market, has embarked on action. Despite being the company's vice president of wireless networks, Yu canceled all his other activities and moved to work with the small group in Europe and engineers in China to find a solution. In just one week, they launched a broadcast station design that could be deployed into two parts, requiring less installation space and cheaper operation.
Telfort is very impressed with this. Within a few months, an agreement on a 230-million-euro contract was signed and Huawei was named on the regional map. The following year, they won many contracts with BT Group and became suppliers for Vodafone, one of the world's largest operators.
Success in the European market put Yu on the Board of Directors, a small group of 17 people responsible for making the final decisions about the company's business.
Bringing Huawei brand to the second in the world for smartphone supply
After gaining a lot of success in the telecom network equipment market, the Chinese company identified the smartphone array as the next growth engine in 2011 and Mr. Yu was appointed to lead this business, even at that time Huawei was just a small competitor in a capital market dominated by foreign brands.
It is also a time when Chinese smartphone brands are still the only devices that copy and copy big brands like Samsung, Nokia or Apple. At that time, Huawei only had less than 5% market share in China, with most of its sales coming from selling inexpensive devices to domestic operators to retain users with extended contracts. many years.
Mr. Yu decided to change all this. After taking power at Huawei's consumer equipment business, Mr. Yu stopped providing inexpensive equipment to Chinese operators, upgrading smart devices to mid-range and high-end segments, from abandoning the super cheap phone market which is not profitable.
Huawei also began using HiSilicon and Balong's self-designed processors, set up a number of e-commerce platforms, dedicated a UI design department, and set goals to become The world's best hardware manufacturer.
Unlike Huawei's other important businesses, such as telecom networks and enterprise products that focus on building networks and developing smart cities, Huawei's smartphone business will target online users. next. This led Yu to become a public face when frequently present on social media channels.
In early 2012, Yu said Huawei wanted to reach millions of products per year with each product to cope with Apple's shipments of hundreds of millions of iPhones every year.
In the same year, Yu said Huawei will launch a flagship mobile device even more powerful than the iPhone 5 in 2013, after the company set a goal to make high-end products. Such a series of Yu's posts became the source for the "Strong Mouth" nickname given to him by Chinese netizens.
Seven years later, Huawei became China's largest smartphone provider and the second largest in the world. Before being blacklisted by the US – they even claimed to win 50% of China's smartphone market share by the end of this year and depose Samsung's first in 2020.
Under Mr. Yu's leadership, the company's consumer electronics business, including phones, became the company's biggest revenue last year, when it accounted for more than 50% of its total revenue. whole company.
The trouble from his bold statement
But Mr. Yu's strong statements also brought him many troubles.
In February 2018, security concerns forced AT&T to stop Huawei's phone distribution, Yu commented that competitors were using politics to push Huawei out of the United States and that, some the government thinks the company has "become too powerful"Mr. Yu's sensitive statements forced Huawei to say that he had nothing to do with these comments.
Chen Lifang, Huawei's senior vice president and head of communications, replied in an interview with SCMP that: "It is not right to criticize a party that does not accept me, we can only try harder, maintain our openness and transparency and wait until another party is ready to welcome me.. "
Ms. Chen also added that Huawei did not authorize Mr. Yu to speak on behalf of the company and disagreed with his view.
In March this year, Yu also said German media that the company had developed a separate operating system for both smartphones and computers, which could be used on their devices to replace operating systems. provided by US companies such as Android or Windows, in the case of a ban.
Said in a WeChat chat group, Mr. Yu declared: "Huawei OS will launch the market soonest this fall, and no later than the following spring"The conversation was later scanned and spread in Chinese media, but Huawei refused to confirm this information with the media.
Since the US ban began to hit Huawei, the company's spokesmen have gone against Mr. Yu's optimism.
Recently, Zhao Ming, president of Honor, one of Huawei's two smartphone brands, said about the current situation: "Huawei is reviewing its goal of becoming the world's leading smartphone provider by 2020, after the US ban raised questions about their ability to access important services for national sales. sacrifice. "
Meanwhile, according to SCMP sources, Foxconn, the world's leading electronics assembler, has also stopped many phone production lines for Huawei recently after the company in Shenzhen. reduce orders for new phones.
Now, even Mr. Yu has to calm his voice about the company's ambition.
In an interview with CNBC last week, Yu said Huawei stopped launching new laptops after being banned from importing components from US suppliers. Earlier, Chinese media reported that Huawei will launch a new laptop belonging to the MateBook line in July this year.
Only time will tell if Mr. Yu is strong enough to maintain his optimism about Huawei in the coming months amid the storm surrounding the company. One thing is for sure, he is facing an unprecedented challenge – surpassing Apple and Samsung without Android.