Huawei – On Campus visits Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei at their Shenzhen HQ to learn more about the company playing a major role in New Zealand’s mobile future.

Early on a cold Guangzhou morning, a smart looking man in a black Audi is waiting outside. “Mr. Speirs, Sir,” he beckons, ready to take me on the two hour journey to Huawei’s Shenzhen headquarters. Huawei is just one of a number of technology giants based in Shenzhen. Their 2 square kilometre campus however is tough to rival.

Huawei employs more than 150,000 staff worldwide, 70,000 of whom work in Research & Development; 30,000 are based here at Shenzhen, with about 10% living full time on Campus in one of the purpose built apartments. Small communities in themselves, employees are treated to full pool and gym, basketball and tennis courts just minutes away from their workplaces. Apparently predominantly the domain of young singles, new employees are encouraged to spend their initial period at Huawei on campus. Those on campus tend to head out to Shenzhen on weekends I’m told, Karaoke and good food at the top of most to-do lists.

A large section of the sprawling campus is dedicated to showing off the Huawei story and showcasing the continually expanding line of products Huawei produces.

One of the many showrooms I was shown throughout the day was focused on pushing Huawei’s evolution from a small-time producer of telephone switches to a multi-national conglomerate innovating mobile technology.

Staff are given 1.5 hours for lunch every day and many head straight to the enormous cafeterias catering for thousands of staff members at any one time. Staff buy meals with a special microchip card, with a number of eateries, buffets and stores throughout the facility which is easily the size of a small shopping mall. It’s apparently very common for staff to spend the second part of their breaks getting in some shut-eye – to which I can attest. Half of the labs I visited could easily have been mistaken for an overgrown day-care service at nap time.

With a reputation of being extremely progressive for a Chinese employer, Huawei is viewed as a premier destination for high-end graduates and competition is stiff. One employee told me of the rigorous, multi-stage application process that would no doubt seriously scare New Zealand graduates.

All new staff first attend Huawei’s onsite university for a number of weeks to learn more about their role, Huawei’s corporate culture and teamwork. There are a number of lecture theatres and laboratories laid out in the style of a typical American high school.

One of the perks of working at Huawei is the discounted travel packages – it is clear the company’s push into New Zealand is not limited to upper corporate personnel.

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