Arrested Huawei executive’s epic rise
Meng Wanzhou has been groomed for decades to join the ranks of China’s business royalty.
She started on the switchboard of her father’s company, Huawei Technologies.
So began a quiet, but steady, rise that was widely viewed as a bottom-to-top apprenticeship to one day take the helm of Huawei from her father, Ren Zhengfei.
Ms Meng’s carefully built world is now caught in a showdown between China and the US with potential economic and diplomatic ramifications.
Ms Meng was set to appear in court yesterday in Vancouver, Canada, for a bail hearing after being arrested while changing planes last Saturday.
US prosecutors have been investigating since 2016 whether Huawei violated US export and sanctions laws by shipping USorigin products to Iran.
The specific targeting of Ms Meng, the chief financial officer, rather than the company in general, has raised speculation by some trade analysts that the case could cast a shadow over attempts by Beijing and Washington to end their trade battles.
On Thursday, China sent twin messages: demanding Ms Meng’s release but expressing hope the incident would not derail momentum on trade talks started by President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping last week.
In many ways, Ms Meng’s family story exemplifies the Chinese dream.
Her father was born into a poor family in the remote, rural province of Guizhou in 1944 and was initially denied entry to the Communist Party because of his family’s poor political standing.
He was finally admitted while he was doing his military service in 1978, two years after the end of the Cultural Revolution.
He started Huawei in 1987 with the equivalent of $3000.
Now 74, the founder had been widely seen as planning to one day hand control to his eldest daughter, who also uses the English name Sabrina Meng.