10 Things You Didn’t Know about Huawei Founder Ren Zhengfei

Ren Zhengfei is the founder of Huawei Technologies. In recent times, his name has been seeing some mention in U.S. news because he is the father of Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Canada in December of 2018 at the request of the United States because of allegations that she was involved in the breaching of U.S. sanctions on Iran. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Ren Zhengfei:

1. Ren Is the Family Name

For those who are unfamiliar with Chinese names, Ren would be the man’s family name, while Zhengfei would be the man’s personal name. In earlier centuries, Chinese people had additional personal names that would have been used for polite interactions under most circumstances, but said practice faded out during the 20th century.

2. His Grandfather Was a Chef

It is interesting to note that Ren’s grandfather seems to have been a well-respected chef in Zhejiang province. In particular, said individual was famous for curing ham, which is notable because even now, Zhejiang province is famous for its Jinhua ham.

3. His Father Worked for the Kuomintang

During the Second World War, Ren’s father headed southwards because of the Japanese occupation, with the result that he was employed by the Kuomintang as an accounts clerk at an arms factory. In short, the Kuomintang was the faction that would lose to the Communist Party of China in the Chinese Civil War that followed the Second World War, with the result that it fled to Taiwan where it remains as one of the two major political parties that exist there in the present day.

4. His Parents Were Middle School Teachers

Eventually, Ren’s father would wind up as a middle school teacher, where he met Ren’s mother, who was also a middle school teacher. In time, Ren’s father would rise to the position of the school’s principal.

5. Went to Chongqing University

For his education, Ren went to Chongqing University, which is still regarded as one of the best schools in China. Even now, the school has a reputation for its focus on Business, on Tech, and on the potential applications of Tech in the real world.

6. Researcher for the People’s Liberation Army

Eventually, Ren joined up with the People’s Liberation Army, where he worked as a researcher. To be exact, he worked in the Information Technology research unit.

7. Retired from the People’s Liberation Army in 1982

In 1982, Ren retired from the People’s Liberation Army because there was a massive workforce reduction that impacted something along the lines of 500,000 active duty personnel. Upon becoming a civilian, Ren headed to the city of Shenzhen in the province of Guangdong to work in the electronics business.

8. Founded Huawei in 1987

By 1987, Ren was able to found Huawei with around 51,000 yuan. For context, that would have been worth around $5,000 USD in those times. For even more context, $100 USD in 1987 has around the same purchasing power as $252.12 USD in 2018, meaning that $5,000 USD would be around $12,606 USD.

9. Owned Less than 2 Percent of Huawei

Huawei is a corporation, but it is a private rather than a public corporation in the sense that its shares aren’t available for purchase by members of the public. Instead, Huawei shares are supposed to be owned by Huawei employees in China, which are apparently allocated to them based on factors such as their seniority as well as their annual performances. Ren is said to have owned 1.42 percent of Huawei shares in 2010, but it is unclear how much influence over the corporation that would have represented.

10. Didn’t Get the Chance to Connect with His Children When They Were Young

Ren has stated that he didn’t get the chance to connect with his children when they were still young. Initially, this was because his work with the military meant that he was away for 11 months out of every 12. However, when he founded Huawei, that took up most of his time as well. This would explain a lot about why both his son and his daughter with his first wife Meng Jun took her family name rather than his family name when they divorced.


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