The scene is reminiscent of a place on the other side of the globe: Silicon Valley at its most breathless, when programmers on the go "24/7" collapsed with exhaustion at their workstations. Huawei's astonishing campus on the outskirts of the southern city of Shenzhen is straight out of the technology bubble too, with four football fields, swimming pools, apartments for 3,000 families and a fantastical Disney-esque research centre with doric pillars and marbled interior.Globalization is here, and China gets it. Borders are disappearing and quality is job one in a price sensitive world. Can the boys in the US and Europe keep their leads and step up to the plate?
The hubris at Huawei, which makes telecoms equipment like routers and switches, is also vintage 1990s America. Hu Yong, a vice-president, is proud of being in more than 70 countries, that over 3,000 of the group's 24,000 employees are overseas nationals and that two-fifths of its more than $5 billion revenues in 2004 will be made outside China. "Are we a global player? FORTUNE magazine says that is when international sales exceed 20% of your total," he says. "So the answer is yes."
The Economist has a poignant article on China's efforts to build world-class companies. This is going to be a hot topic this year.