More recently, in remarks that were emailed to employees, Mr. Ren said that it was important to enforce internal standards, but that this should not become a hindrance.
“If it blocks the business from producing grain, then we all starve to death,” he said, according to a transcript of his comments on a Huawei website.
Ms. Meng’s arrest this month has darkened China’s relations with the United States, scrambling efforts by the two nations to ease a tense economic conflict. Washington has worked for years to undermine Huawei, regarding its products as potential vehicles for espionage and sabotage — something the company denies.
Security concerns about Huawei and other Chinese equipment providers are mounting among traditional allies of the United States like Australia, Britain and New Zealand. In Germany last week, Deutsche Telekom said it was taking seriously the “global discussion about the security of network elements from Chinese manufacturers.”
Huawei was founded in the late 1980s, during the tumultuous early years of China’s capitalist revival. Mr. Ren was an engineer in the People’s Liberation Army for nearly a decade before starting Huawei, and military values — tenacity, dedication, drive — have long suffused the company.
In the early years, squads of Huawei salesmen crisscrossed China in sport utility vehicles peddling the company’s telephone switches to post offices. Employees were given mattresses so they could nap while working late nights.
Company lore, as recounted in employee publications and admiring books by business professors, is heavy on stories of dogged staffers enduring physical hardship. They worked to keep telecom services running despite a terrorist attack in Mumbai and an earthquake in Algeria. They braved cold and sleeplessness to provide mobile coverage to climbers on Mount Everest.
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