The Irish Times - - Front Page - CLIF­FORD COONAN in Bei­jing

The ar­rest of Meng Wangzhou, chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer of tech gi­ant Huawei , caused shock­waves:

The ar­rest of Meng Wangzhou, chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer of the elec­tron­ics gi­ant Huawei and daugh­ter of the firm’s founder Ren Zhengfei, has sent shock­waves through China.

Huawei is a do­mes­tic ti­tan, a flag­ship firm push­ing in­no­va­tion as part of the coun­try’s ef­forts to rise out of low-level man­u­fac­tur­ing.

The suc­cess of Huawei’s smart­phones have made it a real name in the con­sumer arena, while it has suc­cess­fully pen­e­trated mar­kets all over the world with its tele­coms equip­ment. With over two thirds of its rev­enues com­ing from out­side the coun­try, Huawei is an ex­em­plary firm at a time when pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping is try­ing to boost China’s ef­forts to in­no­vate and com­pete with for­eign ri­vals. It is a sig­nif­i­cant player in the strat­egy to beat the US in the on­go­ing trade war.

Chi­nese poli­cies

De­spite this suc­cess, Huawei oc­cu­pies a com­plex role in do­mes­tic cor­po­rate so­ci­ety. Chang­ing Chi­nese poli­cies mean a switch away from pri­vate-sec­tor com­pa­nies to­wards state-owned en­ter­prises un­der pres­i­dent Xi. The days when China’s vast pri­vate-sec­tor gi­ants could do what they want may be com­ing to an end, and Huawei may be feel­ing the ini­tial pain from this tran­si­tion.

Meng’s fa­ther Ren Zhengfei didn’t make the list of top 100 en­trepreneurs for the forth­com­ing cel­e­bra­tions to mark the 40th an­niver­sary of open­ing up and re­form. Al­though he was in the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army, Mr Ren wasn’t al­lowed join the Com­mu­nist Party be­cause his fam­ily had links to the Na­tion­al­ist KMT be­fore the Rev­o­lu­tion in 1949. While it is a cham­pion of do­mes­tic in­no­va­tion, Huawei’s re­la­tion­ship with the Com­mu­nist Party is com­pli­cated, re­flect­ing chang­ing at­ti­tudes to pri­vate com­pa­nies in China.

De­spite these com­pli­ca­tions, for the time be­ing the of­fi­cial mes­sage is to shore up sup­port for do­mes­tic com­pa­nies. The stri­dent na­tion­al­ist ti­tle Global Times, al­though not a di­rect pub­li­ca­tion from the Com­mu­nist Party, can al­ways be re­lied upon for in­sights into of­fi­cial think­ing.

“We call on the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and so­ci­ety to of­fer moral sup­port to Huawei and Chi­nese diplo­mats to of­fer timely

as­sis­tance to Meng,” it said in an edi­to­rial. “Ob­vi­ously Wash­ing­ton is re­sort­ing to a de­spi­ca­ble rogue’s ap­proach as it can­not stop Huawei’s 5G ad­vance in the mar­ket,” it said.

“We also sup­port Huawei in its le­gal bat­tle with the US to prove its in­no­cence and thwart some Amer­i­cans’ plot to throw the com­pany off track,” it said.

A court draw­ing of Huawei chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Meng Wanzhou, who was ar­rested on an ex­tra­di­tion war­rant, at her bail hear­ing in Van­cou­ver, Canada, yesterday

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