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Ren Zhengfei in 2014
|Education||Chongqing Jianzhu University (now Chongqing University)|
|Known for||Founder & CEO of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.|
|Net worth||US$1.5 billion (January 2020)|
|Political party||Communist Party of China|
|Parent(s)||Ren Musheng (father)|
Cheng Yuanzhao (mother)
|Relatives||Ren Sanhe (grandfather)|
Meng Wanzhou (daughter)
Ren Zhengfei (Chinese: 任正非; pinyin: Rén Zhèngfēi; born 25 October 1944) is a Chinese entrepreneur and engineer. He is the founder and CEO 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$1.3 billion.
Ren was born on October 25, 1944 in Zhenning County, Guizhou. His grandfather Ren Sanhe (任三和) was a master chef who was an expert in curing ham from Rendian Village (任店村), Pujiang County, Zhejiang. His father, Ren Musheng (任木生), courtesy name Moxun (摩逊; 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 (都匀一中) where he met Ren Zhengfei's mother Cheng Yuanzhao (程远昭); 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. Ren has five younger sisters and one younger brother.
Ren spent his primary and middle school years in a remote mountainous town in Guizhou Province and in 1963, he studied at the Chongqing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture (now Chongqing University) and on graduation he joined the People's Liberation Army (PLA) research institute to work as a military technologist reportedly in the PLA's Information Technology research unit in Mianyang, Sichuan. . He was employed in the civil engineering industry until 1974 when he joined the military's Engineering Corps as a soldier tasked to establish the Liao Yang Chemical Fiber Factory. Ren was excluded from joining the Communist Party of China for most of his 9-year career in the military, due to his parents' social background and their ties to the Kuomintang. Subsequently, Mr. Ren had taken positions as a Technician, an Engineer, and was lastly promoted as a Deputy Director, which was a professional role equivalent to a Deputy Regimental Chief, but without military rank. 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 1983, Ren retired from the army due to a large PLA workforce reduction which impacted 500,000 active duty personnel. 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 was a contractor for selling, installing and maintaining server switches and equipment for a Hong Kong dealer in China.
In 1992, Ren pushed Huawei to develop the C&C8 server switch, which sold at 1/3 of the price at that time and made the first successful boost of Huawei.
Due to Ren's background, Huawei was rewarded with Chinese government contracts in data center building and telecommunications construction of 4G networks.[when?] Huawei is also active in building telecommunications for African countries as a Chinese diplomatic relations building in 1990’s.
Ren now serves as a deputy chairman of the Board of Directors, but he is not among the current three rotating CEOs. The company had annual revenue of US$92.5 billion in 2017. Ren holds 1.42% of the shares of Huawei, valued at US$450 million in 2010. Huawei is essentially independent of Ren because its shares are held by its employees, but the ownership structure remains opaque.
Communist Party and military ties
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.[note 1] 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.
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 Ren Ping, both of whom initially took up their mother's surname. After their divorce, he married Yao Ling (姚凌), with whom he had another daughter, Annabel Yao, who is 25 years younger than Meng Wanzhou. As of December 2018, Annabel is a ballet dancer and a computer science student at Harvard University and made a high-profile debut at Le Bal des Débutantes in Paris in 2018. Ren married for the third time to Su Wei, who was reportedly his former secretary.
Despite being Huawei's CEO, Ren is a supporter of Apple and stated that "iPhone has a good ecosystem and when my family are abroad, I still buy them iPhones, so one can't narrowly think love for Huawei should mean loving Huawei phones."
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- Media related to Ren Zhengfei at Wikimedia Commons