Ren Zhengfei

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Ren Zhengfei
Ren Zhengfei 2014.jpg
Ren Zhengfei in 2014
Native name
Born (1944-10-25) 25 October 1944 (age 74)
EducationChongqing Jianzhu University (now Chongqing University)
OccupationEngineer, businessman
Known forFounder and president of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
Political partyCommunist Party of China
RelativesMeng Wanzhou (daughter)[1]

Ren Zhengfei (Chinese: 任正非; pinyin: Rén Zhèngfēi; b. 25 October 1944) is a Chinese engineer and businessman. He is the founder and president of Shenzhen-based Huawei, the world's largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment and second largest manufacturer of smartphones. As of February 2019, he had a net worth of US$1.7 billion.[2]

Early life[edit]

Ren was born in Zhenning County, Guizhou, China. His grandfather was from Jiangsu province and was a master chef who was an expert in curing ham in neighbouring Zhejiang province. His father, Ren Moxun (Chinese: 任摩逊; pinyin: Rén Móxùn), failed to complete university studies when his[clarification needed] grandfather died a year prior to his graduation.

During the Japanese occupation, his father migrated south to Guangzhou to work in a Kuomintang government arms factory as an accounts clerk. After 1949, his father was appointed as the president of No. 1 Middle School of Duyun (Chinese: 都匀一中) where he met Ren Zhengfei's mother; the elder Ren became a member of the Communist Party in 1958. His mother was a senior teacher at the No. 1 Middle School of Duyun.

After completing secondary school, Ren Zhengfei attended the Chongqing University in the 1960s,[3] and then joined the People's Liberation Army (PLA) research institute to work as a military technologist reportedly in the PLA's Information Technology research unit.[4] During his time in the PLA, Ren did not hold military rank.[citation needed] He was excluded from joining the Communist Party of China for most of his career in the military, due to his parents' social background and their ties to the Kuomintang. During this time, Ren was responsible for a number of technology achievements that were recognized at various levels. For this reason, Ren was selected as a delegate from PLA to attend the National Science Conference in 1978. In 1982, Ren retired from the army due to a large PLA workforce reduction which impacted 500,000 active duty personnel. In 1983, after becoming a civilian, Ren moved to Shenzhen and worked in the electronics business.


In 1987, Ren founded Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd with 21,000 yuan, around US$5,000 at the time. Initially Huawei mostly sold telephone exchange equipment from Hong Kong. Richard McGregor, author of The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers, claimed that the company has received state support at crucial points in its development.[5]

Ren now serves as a deputy chairman of the Board of Directors, but he is not among the current three rotating CEOs[6]. The company had an annual revenue of US$92.5 billion in 2017.[7] Ren holds 1.42% of the shares of Huawei, valued at US$450 million in 2010.[8] Huawei is essentially independent of Ren because it shares are held by its employees, but the ownership structure remains opaque.[8]

Time magazine included Ren Zhengfei in its list of 100 most influential people of 2005.[9]

Communist Party and military ties[edit]

Ren's ties with the Chinese military and Communist Party have been cited by the Indian government as a security concern in not allowing Huawei to win certain contracts in India.[10][11] These fears are shared by other countries. In the United States it led to the collapse of Huawei's efforts to buy 3Com and forced SoftBank to greatly sever ties with Huawei in order to have its takeover of Sprint Nextel acquire US national-security clearance, while in the United Kingdom the Intelligence and Security Committee has recommended the removal of Huawei's equipment due to spying fears.[12][13]

Personal life[edit]

Ren's first wife was Meng Jun, the daughter of Meng Dongbo, a former deputy governor of Sichuan Province. They had two children: daughter Meng Wanzhou and son Meng Ping, both of whom took up their mother's surname.[14] After their divorce, he married Yao Ling, with whom he had another daughter, Annabel Yao, who is 25 years younger than Meng Wanzhou. Annabel is a computer science student at Harvard University and made a high-profile debut at Le Bal des Débutantes in Paris in 2018.[14] Ren married for the third time to Su Wei, who was reportedly his former secretary.[14]

Ren's eldest daughter, Meng Wanzhou, is deputy chairperson and chief financial officer (CFO) of Huawei.[15]


  1. ^ Wakabayashi, Daisuke; Rappeport, Alan (2018-12-05). "A Top Huawei Executive Is Arrested in Canada for Extradition to the U.S." The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  2. ^ "Ren Zhengfei". Forbes.
  3. ^ "Ren Zhengfei". Businessweek. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  4. ^ "The company that spooked the world". 4 August 2012 – via The Economist.
  5. ^ McGregor, Richard (2012). The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers. New York: Harper Perennial. p. 204. ISBN 978-1-84614-173-7.
  6. ^ "Rotating CEOs". Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  7. ^ Bureau, D. A. "Huawei achieves annual revenue of $92.5 bn". DigiAnalysys.
  8. ^ a b Analysis - Who really owns Huawei
  9. ^ "Ren Zhengfei Modeled After Mao". Matthew Forney. Forbes Magazine. 18 April 2005.
  10. ^ Ashford, Warwick (2009-06-04). "Huawei complains about India's security concerns". Retrieved 2018-02-15.
  11. ^ Although Huawei has repeatedly denied it, the company has often been subject to rumours about its alleged close links to the Chinese government and military - see for example The Economist, or Cellular News.
  12. ^ "Huawei Loser in SoftBank-Sprint Deal Over Alleged Spying". Bloomberg. 30 May 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  13. ^ "Like U.S. lawmakers, Brits raise spying fears over Huawei gear". CNET. 6 June 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  14. ^ a b c "The tale of Huawei founder's daughters born 25 years apart". South China Morning Post. 2018-12-06. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  15. ^ Huawei finance chief Meng Wanzhou arrested in Canada, BBC, 6 Dec 2018