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Business Insight

Huawei's culture must change for it to stay ahead

US sanctions and market leadership require deeper embrace of creativity

Huawei's success is partly due to a highly-effective, if somewhat militaristic, human resources strategy. A security guard stands outside company headquarters in Shenzhen, China.    © Reuters

Huawei Technologies rose to dominance through its unique culture and powerful human resources strategy. Both have helped make the company a highly effective follower of technologies developed elsewhere, and a fierce global competitor.

But now, as the market leader in telecommunications equipment and a top player in smartphones in its own right, Huawei needs to lead the pack rather than be its follower. At the same time, Washington has limited the company's access to U.S. technology. These dual challenges raise a crucial question: How quickly can Huawei's unique if somewhat militaristic work culture evolve into one that puts more emphasis on creativity and innovation?

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