Huawei to move 20,000 staffers from its carrier business to consumer business group, sources say

As the company faces immense political pressure it has to restructure its employee base

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Chinese high-tech poster child Huawei is moving about 20,000 employees from its carriers network business group to its consumer business group, reports Phoenix Tech, which is part of major Chinese news portal Phoenix News.

Citing unnamed sources at Huawei, the report said Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei recently told the company’s consumer business group to help to take in “redundant” employees from its carrier network business arm.

But Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer business, refuted the report this afternoon. “The news is inaccurate. We can’t possibly take that many people,” he told the Paper. The consumer business group takes in about 3,000 staffs annually from internal transfer in recent years, according to Yu.

Huawei’s carrier network businesses account for more than half of the company’s 188,000-strong workforce and have been the mainstay of the company since its inception.

But the mounting political pressure surrounding the Chinese telecoms giant, in the run-up of 5G global deployment, is taking its toll on Huawei’s carriers business.

Despite still being a leader in the industry with 26% global market share in 2018, Huawei saw a 1.3% negative revenue growth in carriers business.

Earlier this month, Ren had announced to employees of Huawei’s carriers network businesses that they would need to brace for a “fight” under “extremely difficult condition” for the next ten years.

“I fear some Western countries will start to pick sides on some small issues. Whether things will go back to the Cold War era with rival blocks, that’s still uncertain,” Ren said.

Huawei’s consumer business, meanwhile, seems to suffer little damage from the United States and its allies’ global campaign to bar the company from entering their 5G markets. Huawei shipped 206 smartphones and recorded a 45.1% annual growth in consumer business last year.