Anyone who invests in China knows the challenges of getting reliable financial information. One Chinese company that foreign investors would like to know more about is Huawei Technologies Co., a Shenzhen-based maker of routers, switches and other telecommunications equipment that has vaulted from a seven-person startup in 1988 to a 22,000-employee giant that competes worldwide with the likes of Cisco Systems Inc.
Huawei expects to export $1 billion of equipment this year. In March, the company announced a joint venture with Cisco rival 3Com Corp.
Employee-owned Huawei plans an initial public offering at some point. Investors say the company will first have to become more open. Cisco has accused Huawei of stealing its technology, an allegation Huawei denies. Senior writer William Mellor, who visited Huawei’s Silicon Valley–style headquarters in Shenzhen, reports that the company’s cofounder, Ren Zhengfei, a former army officer, is so secretive that many of his employees don’t know what he looks like. His name—never mind his photo—doesn’t even appear in Huawei’s annual report (“Cisco’s Chinese Nemesis,” page 82).
n our cover story, senior writer Stephanie Baker-Said takes an eye-opening look at sexual Mellor harassment and discrimination in the City of
London, the world’s No. 2 financial hub (“Sexism and the City,” page 28). She shows that nearly a quarter century after Britain elected a female prime minister, women in one of the country’s leading industries have made only limited progress.
Elsewhere, senior writer Adam Levy analyzes the challenges interim Chairman John Reed faces in cleaning up the conflict-ridden New York Stock Exchange (“The Big Board’s New Face,” page 38)—a story that reminds us China isn’t the only place where investors are seeking added transparency and more disclosure. „