Despite rising through the ranks of those equipment makers that knit the Internet, telephone systems and computer databases together, Huawei Technologies is still seen to be standing in the shadows of such giants as Cisco Systems Inc. and Nortel Networks Corporation.
However, domestic sales grew by a third in the first half of the year, and analysts expect Huawei's international sales to grow from $550 million last year to $1 billion this year and $1.4 billion next year- drawing praise from China's leadership, but suspicion from outside the country.
Earlier in 2003, Cisco filed a lawsuit in Texas charging that Huawei stole its computer coding for data routing equipment and in October, the two companies agreed to suspend the lawsuit and seek private adjudication. Huawei does not believe that the Cisco lawsuit will seriously hinder its plans, though, holding that its research and inroads into markets abroad would make it a formidable player.
"Huawei is one of China's most promising businesses," said Allen Chen, an analyst with Norsom Consulting in Beijing. "We feel they're working hard to globalize, and may have the strength to succeed."