Huawei's supposed links with the Chinese state are debating

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Since the beginning of the conflict between the United States and Huawei,

    this is the number one argument of the Chinese group,
in his all-out offensive

    to answer the accusations of Washington, which suspects it of espionage in favor of Beijing. No, Huawei is not a state-owned corporation owned by the Chinese government, but a private enterprise owned collectively by its employees.

While the group is to participate for the first time, Thursday, at VivaTech in Paris, two American researchers recognized however affirm quite the opposite. The private shareholding of Huawei is a " myth ", Say Christopher Balding and Donald Clarke in a study published April 15, which must be dispelled" once and for all ". Huawei denounces him an article based on " unreliable sources and speculation. "

In 15 pages, the two professors, respectively Fulbright University in Vietnam and George Washington University in the United States, dissect the governance of Huawei, relying on institutional databases and the Chinese press. The problem, according to them, lies "on the first floor", in the holding that controls Huawei Technologies, the company that actually manufactures telecom equipment and
the group's smartphones

    and who employs the bulk of its 180,000 employees.

Until then, nothing abnormal. A detail close. Since 2006, the holding company is 99% owned by a very opaque "union committee". Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei holds the remaining 1%.

Opacity

Because of this opacity, the authors remain cautious. But if this body works like all unions in China, then Huawei can be considered as state property They conclude. Because in China, independent trade unionism does not exist. All unions report to the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), itself controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, in power since 1949.

Anyway, write the researchers, " it is clear that employees do not hold or control Huawei ". According to them, Huawei did not set up a real employee shareholding, but a more traditional mechanism of profit sharing. Shares available to employees on a contractual basis do not carry any voting rights. They can not be transferred and are "liquidated" at a fixed price when the employee leaves the company, says the study.

False, Huawei told the two researchers at a press conference in late April. The 90,000 employees holding the company do have voting rights and receive a dividend. The union committee is only a legal device to circumvent the Chinese laws, which set a ceiling on the number of employees who can collectively hold a company. Gold Huawei is a colossus of 180,000 people … This committee does not report to the CCP and " i
There is no public capital in Huawei Jiang Xisheng, the secretary of the board, told the Financial Times.

Huawei has been facing accusations for years about its governance and its supposed links with the Chinese state. The group is not listed on the stock exchange, but nevertheless publishes annual reports which, according to Huawei, are audited by KPMG.

The world leader in telecom equipment and second largest smartphone maker on the planet (tied with Apple) is certainly not the only Chinese company to be regularly singled out. But in the telecom sector, " the case of Huawei is quite unique, " explains Christopher Balding, joined by "Les Echos". His rival and compatriot ZTE is indeed listed on the stock exchange, as are two other European equipment manufacturers, Ericsson and Nokia.

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