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Huawei Comes Out Of Stealth Mode

Known as 'the biggest company you've never heard of', Huawei is taking the wraps off of its 2-year-old presence in North America, with the unveiling of its cloud computing strategy and the opening of an R&D facility. The China-based telecommunications equipment vendor has been averaging annual growth in the 30 percent range, says John Roese, who was recently appointed head of R&D in North America for Huawei.

Serving 45 of the top 50 global telecom operators, the company had revenues of $22.8 billion in 2009 and was expecting revenues of $27 billion for 2010. Its mobile device subsidiary was predicting revenues of $4.5 billion, up 21.6 percent year-over-year. North American revenues are expected to exceed $1 billion in 2011.

Roese, who was previously the Nortel CTO, says Huawei is heavily focused on R&D and disruptive technologies. Our culture tells us it is a great thing to do something disruptive, he says: "I tend to seek out places that will have a lot of action ... disruptive innovations."

Almost half of the company's 100,000-person global staff--47,000--are engineers, including almost 1,000 technical staff in North America. When the company was deciding where to base its disruptive expertise, North America was the choice, Roese said. After setting up operations in Canada in 2008, the company has been tripling its staff every year, hiring expertise from both the telecom and computing fields and looking for people who want to reinvent the industry.

Historically, Huawei has been focused on the carrier infrastructure space, with a strong device component including smart phones and smart cards. Going forward, the company is looking to move up the stack.

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