Ren Zhengfei

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Ren Zhengfei
Ren Zhengfei 2014.jpg
Ren Zhengfei in 2014
CEO of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
Assumed office
15 September 1987
ChairmanLiang Hua
Preceded byNew title
Vice Chairman of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
In office
15 September 1987 – 22 November 2019
ChairmanSun Yafang
Preceded byNew title
Succeeded byMeng Wanzhou
Personal details
Born (1944-10-25) 25 October 1944 (age 77)
Zhenning, Guizhou, Republic of China
Political partyChinese Communist Party
Spouse(s)Meng Jun
Yao Ling
Children3, including Meng Wanzhou[1]
Alma materChongqing Jianzhu University (now Chongqing University)
Military service
Allegiance People's Republic of China
Branch/service People's Liberation Army Ground Force
Years of service1970–1982
UnitPLA Capital Construction Engineering Corps
Scientific career
InstitutionsLiaoyang Petroleum Chemical Fiber General Factory
Chinese name

Ren Zhengfei (Chinese: 任正非; born 25 October 1944) is a Chinese entrepreneur and engineer who is the founder and CEO of Huawei Technologies, the world's largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment and second largest manufacturer of smartphones.[2] In April 2021, the Forbes Global Rich List was released, and Ren Zhengfei ranked 2378 on the list with a fortune of 1.3 billion US dollars.

Early life[edit]

Ren was born on October 25, 1944 in Zhenning County, Guizhou.[3] 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.[4] His father, Ren Musheng (任木生), courtesy name Moxun (摩逊; Móxùn),[5] failed to complete university studies when his[clarification needed] grandfather died a year prior to his graduation.[5]

During the Japanese occupation, his father migrated south to Guangzhou to work in a Kuomintang government arms factory as an accounts clerk.[5] 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);[3] the elder Ren became a member of the Communist Party in 1958.[6] His mother was a senior teacher at the No. 1 Middle School of Duyun. Ren has five younger sisters and one younger brother.[4]

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. .[7][8] 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 Chinese Communist Party for most of his 9-year career in the military, due to his parents' social background and their ties to the Kuomintang.[9] 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.[9] For this reason, Ren was selected as a delegate from PLA to attend the National Science Conference in 1978.[10] In 1983, Ren retired from the army due to a large PLA workforce reduction which impacted 500,000 active duty personnel.[10] After becoming a civilian, Ren moved to Shenzhen and worked in the electronics business.[11]


In 1987, Ren founded Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd with 21,000 yuan, around US$5,000 at the time.[12] Initially, Huawei was a contractor for selling, installing and maintaining server switches and equipment for a Hong Kong dealer in China.[9]

In 1992, Ren pushed Huawei to develop the C&C8 server switch, which sold at 1/3 of the market price at that time and made the first successful boost of Huawei.[citation needed]

Due to Ren's background, Huawei was rewarded with Chinese government contracts in data center building and telecommunications construction of 4G networks.[when?][citation needed] Huawei is also active in building telecommunications for African countries as a Chinese diplomatic relations building in 1990’s.[citation needed]

Ren now serves as a deputy chairman of the Board of Directors, but he is not among the current three rotating CEOs.[13] The company had annual revenue of US$92.5 billion in 2017.[14] Ren holds 1.42% of the shares of Huawei, valued at US$450 million in 2010.[15] Huawei is essentially independent of Ren because its shares are held by its employees, but the ownership structure remains opaque.[15]

Time magazine included Ren in its list of 100 most influential people of 2005.[16]

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.[17][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.[18][19]

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 Ren Ping, both of whom initially took up their mother's surname.[20] 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.[20] Ren married for the third time to Su Wei, who was reportedly his former secretary.[20]

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."[21][22]

Ren's eldest daughter, Meng Wanzhou, is deputy chairperson and chief financial officer (CFO) of Huawei.[23]


  1. ^ Although the company has often been subject to rumours about its alleged close links to the Chinese government and military, such rumours have always been denied. See for example The Economist, or Cellular News.


  1. ^ Wakabayashi, Daisuke; Rappeport, Alan (5 December 2018). "A Top Huawei Executive Is Arrested in Canada for Extradition to the U.S." The New York Times. Archived from the original on 6 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Ren Zhengfei". Forbes. Archived from the original on 11 October 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b Li Hongwen (2019), p. 4.
  4. ^ a b Li Hongwen (2019), p. 2.
  5. ^ a b c Li Hongwen (2019), p. 3.
  6. ^ Li Hongwen (2019), p. 5.
  7. ^ Li Hongwen (2019), p. 14.
  8. ^ "The company that spooked the world". The Economist. 4 August 2012. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Li Hongwen (2019), p. 21.
  10. ^ a b Li Hongwen (2019), p. 22.
  11. ^ Li Hongwen (2019), p. 23.
  12. ^ Li Hongwen (2019), p. 26.
  13. ^ "Rotating CEOs". Archived from the original on 20 October 2017. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  14. ^ Bureau, D. A. "Huawei achieves annual revenue of $92.5 bn". DigiAnalysys. Archived from the original on 3 August 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  15. ^ a b "Analysis - Who really owns Huawei". Archived from the original on 29 May 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  16. ^ "Ren Zhengfei Modeled After Mao". Matthew Forney. Forbes Magazine. 18 April 2005. Archived from the original on 19 September 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  17. ^ Ashford, Warwick (4 June 2009). "Huawei complains about India's security concerns". Archived from the original on 15 February 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  18. ^ "Huawei Loser in SoftBank-Sprint Deal Over Alleged Spying". Bloomberg. 30 May 2013. Archived from the original on 17 June 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  19. ^ "Like U.S. lawmakers, Brits raise spying fears over Huawei gear". CNET. 6 June 2013. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  20. ^ a b c "The tale of Huawei founder's daughters born 25 years apart". South China Morning Post. 6 December 2018. Archived from the original on 7 December 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  21. ^ Hanbury, Mary. "Huawei's CEO says he admires Apple and buys his family iPhones when they are not in China". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 29 September 2019. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  22. ^ Sarah Dai, Meng Jing, Zen Soo (22 May 2019). "Apple's China woes may worsen as Huawei ban nudges die-hard iPhone fans to switch sides". South China Morning. Archived from the original on 8 November 2019. Retrieved 8 November 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  23. ^ Huawei finance chief Meng Wanzhou arrested in Canada Archived 6 December 2018 at the Wayback Machine, BBC, 6 Dec 2018


Li Hongwen (2019). 任正非:九死一生的坚持 [Ren Zhengfei: the Persistence of Nine Dead Life] (in Chinese). Xicheng District, Beijing: China Yanshi Press. ISBN 978-7-5171-0551-0.

Business positions
New title Vice Chairman of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
Succeeded by
New title CEO of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.

External links[edit]