Looking for ways to expand in the U.S., Huawei Technologies Co. has hired a slate of American advisers aimed at assuaging national security concerns that have stymied the Chinese telecommunications-gear maker's U.S. ambitions.
Huawei has to overcome suspicions about links to the Chinese government and military, since its founder and largest shareholder, Ren Zhengfei, is a former army officer. The head of the company's U.S. operations, however, says Huawei is willing to play the long game.
'We are not in a hurry to win any significant or big project in the U.S.,' Charlie W. Chen, Huawei's senior vice president for marketing and product management, said in an interview.
Mr. Chen said it was 'totally untrue' that Huawei had ties to the Chinese government. 'With time, and as more customers understand our products, this fear will go away.'
Huawei has been a finalist in bidding for large U.S. contracts, including the 4G buildouts of Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. But so far its victories in the U.S. have been limited to small and medium-sized companies.
Huawei is among the companies that is eyeing Motorola Inc.'s network-equipment unit, say people familiar with the matter. But these people say bidding for the unit, which supplies equipment to Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp., may have to wait until next year. Mr. Chen wouldn't discuss Huawei's acquisition plans.
The Motorola unit, which mainly makes technologies for older networks, reported $366 million in profit in 2009, as sales fell 20% to $4.1 billion.
While Huawei's U.S. sales rose 53% last year, the region represented just $319 million of the Huawei's $21.5 billion in global revenue. The company had 750 U.S. employees spread across seven offices last year and plans to hire 500 more this year.
The Chinese company has taken steps to try to change its image in Washington, where federal regulators must approve any sale of sensitive assets to foreigners. Huawei last fall hired an American chief technical officer, Matt Bross, who held the same position at British Telecom, to help win U.S. business.
This year, it has retained law firms specializing in telecom, mergers, and in winning federal approval for sensitive international deals. So far, it has retained Sullivan & Cromwell, Skadden Arps, and Arnold & Porter, according to people familiar with the matter.
Joseph Frumkin, a partner at Sullivan & Crowell, who structured many of the deals that created the current AT&T, declined to say if Huawei was a client. But said his firm served as 'enablers' for Chinese companies. 'We help them get deals done.'
Huawei has already lost out on an acquisition due to security concerns. It backed out of a 2007 partnership with Bain Capital to buy the networking company 3Com Inc. while the deal stood before the Committee for Foreign Investment in the U.S., which reviews sensitive acquisitions by foreign companies. 3Com was later acquired by Hewlett-Packard Co.
More recently, Huawei bid for but failed to win assets from Nortel Networks Corp., which is being broken up in bankruptcy court. The assets were sold to Telefon A.B. LM Ericsson of Sweden.
美国在国家安全方面的担忧，阻碍着中国电信设备制造商华为技术有限公司(Huawei Technologies Co.)在美国的野心。为此，华为聘请了多家美国顾问公司，力图减弱这种担忧，以便在美国开疆拓土。
华为美国公司负责营销和产品管理的高级副总裁陈朝晖(Charlie W. Chen)接受采访说，我们不急于在美国赢得任何重要项目或大型项目。
华为曾入围美国一些大单的最后竞标阶段，其中包括Verizon Wireless和美国电话电报公司(AT&T Inc.)4G网络的铺设。但到目前为止，它在美国取得的胜利仅限于一些中小企业。
知情人士说，华为和其他一些公司有意收购摩托罗拉(Motorola Inc.)的网络设备部门。这个部门为Verizon Wireless和Sprint Nextel Corp.供应设备。但这些人士说，对这个部门的竞标可能需要等到明年。陈朝晖拒绝讨论华为的收购计划。
美国的任何敏感资产要出售给外国人，都必须得到联邦监管机构的批准。华为已经采取一些措施，力图改变它在华盛顿的形象。去年秋季，华为聘请曾在英国电信(British Telecom)担任首席技术长的美国人布罗斯(Matt Bross)担任自己的首席技术长，来帮助它在美国赢得业务。
今年，华为聘请了几家擅长于电信、并购和为敏感国际并购交易争取联邦政府批准的律师事务所。知情人士说，到目前为止，华为已聘请Sullivan & Cromwell、Skadden Arps和Arnold & Porter这几家公司。
在造就当前AT&T的并购交易中，有很多都是由Sullivan & Crowell安排的。该公司合伙人弗鲁姆金(Joseph Frumkin)拒绝透露华为是不是客户。但他说，公司为中国企业担当“促成人”(enabler)，我们帮助它们确定交易。
由于美国在安全方面的担忧，华为已经输掉了一起收购。2007年，它同贝恩资本(Bain Capital)合作准备收购网络公司3Com Inc.，但在这起交易交由美国外国投资委员会(CFIUS)审核期间，华为从中退出。CFIUS负责审核外国企业发起的敏感收购。3Com公司后来被惠普(Hewlett-Packard Co.)购得。
更晚近的时候，华为竞购北电网络(Nortel Networks Corp.)旗下资产，但没有成功。北电目前正在进行破产清算。这批资产被卖给了瑞典的爱立信(Telefon A.B. LM Ericsson)。