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Home / Business / Inside Huawei's 1.5 European Campus 'European town' campus in China

Inside Huawei's 1.5 European Campus 'European town' campus in China

Dongguan, a southern city in China, is home to Huawi's R&D center, the brain of the Chinese tech giant, who has been trapped in the cross-chairs of the US and Chinese trade battle.

Ox Horn campus is the official English name of the center, but employees call it Xi Cun "Stream Village" or "European City." The scattered 296-acre site has 12 areas modeled on different European cities and a man-made lake. An old-fashioned red train, imported from Switzerland, runs through the campus to transport employees. On the campus, there is a castle from Luxembourg, a palace similar to the Versailles palace in France, and a tower inspired by the Czech Republic.

Campus houses the R&D team that represents the crown jewel of China's technological advances, but its design barely traces the Chinese culture. The construction of the campus, a barren wasteland that became a theme park in European style, took over five years and costs 10 billion yuan ($ 1.45 billion). Today, 18,000 R&D employees work there. When the rest of the campus, a third of it, is finished, it will eventually be home to 25,000 employees.

When campus first opened in July 2018, it generated some criticism on China's social media to copy other cultures while ignoring its own. Now that Huawei is facing increasing pressure from the US government for national security issues, the company has become China's national pride.

Huawei's Dongguan campus. (Photo / Huawei)

Asked about the campus architecture, Huawei CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei said it was all about beauty. He is known for his taste and preference for European culture and style. Even Huaweis employees' forum is called Roman Forum. Ren wants his company to be western, not just in its appearance.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "" When you are here, you may want Notice that Huawei is not like a Chinese company at all. Aside from our canteens and all the Chinese faces, it's more like a western company, "he told Yahoo Finance & nbsp; in an exclusive interview. & nbsp;" We've recorded the good, advanced elements of Western culture. Is not our corporate culture as Protestant culture? "" Data-reactid = "40"> "When you are here you can notice that Huawei is not like a Chinese company at all. Apart from our canteens and all the Chinese faces, it more like a western company, "he told Yahoo Finance in an exclusive interview." We have taken up the good, advanced elements of Western culture. Isn't our corporate culture as Protestant culture? "

A mid-July weekday The campus is quiet, the staff depart from the shuttle bus, which is delivered by Huawei and makes several stops in adjacent cities, about 8:30 am, and goes through the passengers to enter European-style offices. Every office building, food and drink is not free, but they are slightly cheaper than the market price, and there are many options, and when employees get out late, which is quite common, they can get free snacks in the 7-Eleven campus convenience stores. .

Outside European-style campus, Huawei is building around 30,000 employees for Huawei's employees. The apartments will be offered to employees at a price that is less than half the market price – a huge advantage in China, where young people are increasingly finding apartments in cities prohibitive.

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Huawei makes agricultural land in Donguan, China to its European campus.

Under campus quiet exterior, Huawei has undergone one of the biggest crises since its founding in 1987: The US government is pursuing the company for national security concerns and infringements of sanctions, in the midst of a long-standing trading feed with China.

Ren believes his tech empire has been well under pressure, despite the initial lack of preparation for the Entity List, which prohibits Huawei effectively doing business with US companies. Pure told Yahoo Finance.

Ren is trying to downplay the impact of the move and underlines the bright side, although he estimates a $ 30 billion revenue growth this year.

"The unit list has given a sense of crisis to our employees and inspired passion throughout the company. This has given us an opportunity to relocate underperforming leaders and replace them with outstanding young employees," Ren said. wolf so we have to start running. "

Huawei has quickly defended itself by using its own pieces and switching to components from non-US companies. Employees are required to list components and suppliers to see if they are subject The US ban even the service department has launched its "wartime schedule" to offer meals and commutes during weekends and holidays, and Huawei is also working closely with US technology companies such as Google and Intel to try to resume supply.

It over 600 researchers in its US R&D research arm Futurewei, in Europe, a major market for the company, Huawei launched a marketing campaign to reverse the falling demand for smartphones caused by the fear that Huawei loses Google's Android system on their phones. In an internal alert, employees are told not to talk to families and friends about their supply chain and project plans.

Li Pengfei, senior thermal engineer at Huawei, has seen a negative impact on his own work. Li, who received a doctorate in the United States, had to cut research ties with US universities due to growing distrust.

"I have to have a feeling that technology that is sensitive to the US government before I develop technology gives me a limit to my research," Li said. "I don't want to be a target."

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Employees carry equipment past a sculpture at Huawei Songshan Lake New Campus in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, China May 29, 2019. REUTERS / Jason Lee

For Huawei's employees, one thing they need Get used to seeing their 74-year-old, typically low-key and private public-eye boss more often. Ren, a former military engineer, rarely granted media interviews until November 2018.

Pure daughter Meng Wanzhou, the company's chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada and faces extradition to the United States for alleged breaches of Iran's sanctions. Since then, Ren has often talked about his company and even his personal life, as the company quickly learned that burying the head in the sand doesn't work. So Huawei changed the PR strategy. The company even released a book that collected all the interviews Ren has done in both Chinese and English, and works to translate the book into five other languages. But the company sometimes deliberately omits some juicy statements from Ren.

The book, along with other books on the 32-year-old company's history, lies on the shelves of a cafeteria on campus. The cafeteria, inside the building known as the "Paris" railway station, is called Cafe de Flore. However, the best seller is not about Huawei. It's a translated copy of "The American Trap," written by a former Alstom executive Frédéric Pierucci, who spent two years in a US prison for his role in bribery scandal. The book is promoted as a story that is the "French version of the Huawei event," with Pierucci viewed as a victim.

Li, a 13-year-old veteran of the Huawei R&D department, said he was looking at Ren's interviews and found US actions against the company "unthinkable".

“From what we feel, we are just a company that works very hard, including all our employees. We don't know why the United States would make such a move against us, ”Li said. "They are trying to protect American companies, that's how we feel."

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = " Krystal Hu covers technology and China for Yahoo Finance Follow her on Twitter . "data-reactid =" 102 "> Krystal Hu covers technology and China for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter .

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