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Huawei gets profitable operations back on track

Chinese telecommunications equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co has appointed new heads for its enterprise and carrier businesses after the sudden death of veteran executive Ryan Ding Yun last week, as the struggling company moves to steer its most profitable operations back on track.

David Wang Tao, an executive director of Huawei’s board and chairman of the firm’s ICT Infrastructure Managing Board, was named president of the company’s enterprise business group, while the former president for Western European operations, David Li Peng, will now serve as president of the firm’s carrier business group.

The new appointments were announced internally, according to a Huawei employee who declined to be named.

Privately-held Huawei, which is headquartered in Shenzhen, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

The two new appointments reflect Huawei’s heightened focus to bolster its most profitable revenue sources, while working to stay relevant in the global smartphone market, after the early death at age 53 of Ding who served as president of both the enterprise and carrier groups.

Wang, who joined Huawei in 1997, will continue with his other corporate roles, such as on the company’s board and the information and communications technology managing board, while he leads the enterprise group.

The 50-year-old senior executive, who holds a master’s degree from Xi’an Jiaotong University in northwest Shaanxi province, will preside over a major business that is pushing to become entrenched in various domestic industries, including energy, finance, manufacturing, government, internet services, healthcare, retail and intelligent mines. The company’s enterprise business generated 102.4 billion yuan (US$14.26 billion) in sales last year.

Wang, who has worked as the firm’s president of technical sales in Europe as well as managing director for Italy and Switzerland, currently also serves as chairman of Huawei’s investment review board and the firm’s cloud computing operations.

Li made his first public appearance as Huawei’s new president of carrier business on Wednesday in a social media post, in which he promoted a corporate conference on 5G mobile networks and broadband.

As head of the carrier group, Li will preside over Huawei’s top-performing business last year, with sales of about 281.4 billion yuan or roughly 44 per cent of total annual revenue.

Huawei has been pushing to diversify its operations, while scrambling to adapt its production of smartphones and telecoms network equipment, amid tightened trade restrictions imposed by Washington in 2020, covering access to semiconductors developed or produced using US technology, from anywhere.

Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms gear maker and formerly China’s biggest smartphone vendor, was added to the US government’s trade blacklist in 2019.

While first-half revenue for Huawei fell 5.9 per cent year on year to 301.6 billion yuan, the pace of decline narrowed from the firm’s 13.9 per cent sales decrease in the first quarter on the back of its enterprise and carrier businesses.

With no end in sight to US restrictions amid simmering tensions between Beijing and Washington, Huawei has been sharpening its focus on diversification since 2020, including co-developing a luxury electric sport-utility vehicle, expanding its cloud services operations, and establishing partnerships for its HarmonyOS mobile platform.

In June, the company formed five new business organisations to further diversify its operations. These so-called legions are each focused on specific industries that include digital finance, energy, machine vision, manufacturing digitalisation and public services. South China Morning

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