­It’s Just Another Smartphone Factory™

In a very typical stereotype, the campus in Shenzhen for Huawei has around 30,000 employees over 2.5 square kilometers, with some of them located in housing nearby within the local area. Perhaps quite interesting is that there are Foxconn offices across road, to the extent that at one T-junction there was a sign for left saying ‘Foxconn’ and a sign for the right saying ‘Huawei’. It has been noted that Foxconn has manufactured products for Huawei before, and thus I can imagine being so close to each other has its own benefits.

Make sure you make the right turn

Needless to say, a campus this size is very difficult to ‘tour’ around, especially as we had special presentations and meetings with the President of Huawei’s watch division discussing the Huawei Watch, lunch with the Director of Global Relations as well as a tour of the testing facilities during the short time there.

The standard rules apply for a company of this nature – there are tall corporate buildings with product areas and descriptive walkthroughs of what the company does, with professional meeting rooms that have in-house catering, whereas the technical offices and data center management are generic looking concrete places that are mostly no-go areas for media visits. This dichotomy between ‘on-show corporate’ and ‘the general workforce’ is mirrored in companies around the world, to the extent that we also had lunch in a special canteen for guests with a background band as you entered.

Musical accompaniment in the executive dining hall reception

During lunch we ate and talked with the Director for Public Relations, rather than eating in the casual employee canteen and experiencing the potential mêlée that comes with that. However, the campus is designed with an element of beauty in mind, under the premise that the CEO has a degree in architecture, and wanted the campus to reflect an element of style rather than be another box hidden in a corporate mountain. It was at this point that it was suggested by Andrei that the ultimate tech press clickbait article would be ‘An In-Depth Look at Huawei’s Architecture’ and it being about the buildings and landscapes of the campus, rather than insights into the company's silicon or devices.

Part of the tour was also to one of the smartphone testing laboratories, although we were not allowed to take images inside of the facilities. If any of our readers have seen our articles in the past about this (such as ASUS), the usual array of drop tests, twisting tests, insertion, vibration, high temperature, low temperature, humidity cycles and battery presses were also present on site, although RF testing is performed on a different campus than the one we visited. So when this page started with ‘It’s Just Another Smartphone Factory’, the reality is that almost all of them are like this, as they all need to perform similar tests dictated international and industry standards. The key here is individualization - most of the key elements to what a company does with their product is in the hardware design stage or software, rather than product testing, unless water/dust resistance is a key factor, or additional MIL-SPEC (military standard) is needed. Even then, for MIL-SPEC, one would assume that the testing would be outsourced if it only applied to a few devices, rather than purchasing all the equipment.

Why We Went It’s Just Another Smartphone Manufacturer™
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Communism - Monday, December 7, 2015 - link

    Intercepting and identifying those who use TOR is easy, just make sure most of the useful exit nodes are yours and you automatically have all the plaintext transit.

    After that, you simply have to gain access to all the relevant certificate authorities to man in the middle intercept and decrypt any encrypted traffic by setting up a lookalike site to the one you are impersonating and then simply tell the cisco routers, google routers, microsoft routers, etc. to route the traffic to your site.

    When all else fails you can just stuxnet to win. Issue yourself certificates with the microsoft certificate authority and push windows updates directly to their computer and RAT them.

    If that fails, you can just push Intel and/or AMD microcode updates directly to their motherboards and run level 0 and level -1 codes with direct access to the UEFI/Trust Chip.

    If that fails, you can just directly access their CPU on Ivy Bridge or higher though the on-chip random number generator entropy source that conveniently has a radio antenna (That's how the entropy source produces it's high quality random numbers).

    I could go on, but I would guess you get the point.
  • Communism - Monday, December 7, 2015 - link

    code* , not codes
  • Murloc - Saturday, December 5, 2015 - link

    even if it's true they wouldn't tell an american journalist anything about it, so it's not even worth asking.
    You're free to decide on your own whether you trust them or not.
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, December 7, 2015 - link

    "I'm surprised and quite disappointed that you didn't bring up Huawei's (supposedly) close ties to the Chinese military-industrial complex and the PLA."

    Though it may be an interesting discussion, it's not one we're in an educated position to discuss. Nor really is it my desire for AT to be a political blog.

    Meanwhile the comments are fine and I don't see a need to remove them right now. But keep in mind that this is a tech news website, and I'd like to keep the comments focused on tech.
  • Despoiler - Friday, December 4, 2015 - link

    Huawei must not have been too image conscious when they stole and integrated Cisco IP into their products. They even kept lying about it even after they settled.

  • Communism - Saturday, December 5, 2015 - link

    Why should anyone trust anything that proports to be "justice" that would side with "rounded corners" patents consistently?

    Where the sole determiner of right and wrong is how many kick-backs and general corruption is present in a tug of war kind of way between the two parties arguing a case in this "justice" framework?
  • Daniel Egger - Saturday, December 5, 2015 - link

    So I guess what you're saying is that everyone got it wrong and Cisco blatantly copied a full operating system from Huawei? Interesting thought but highly unlikely given the fact that Huawei is a Chinese company and their products much younger than Ciscos...
  • s.yu - Saturday, December 5, 2015 - link

    It's not even interesting. That guy is highly questionable in his intents.
  • Communism - Saturday, December 5, 2015 - link

    Hi operation earnest voice.
  • fanofanand - Friday, December 4, 2015 - link

    I am curious to see the size of the back door on these devices, you know the Chinese Government requires it, what makes anyone think the devices sold globally would be any different? I get that the U.S. government, and probably several other governments are no different, but the Chinese government hasn't exactly have a strong record of acknowledging human rights....

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now