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Just under an hour's drive from Shenzen is Huawei's manufacturing centre at Songshan Lake. Again, it's massive — 600,000 square metres — but modern, as it was only finished two years ago, and young trees are dotted everywhere.
Inside the plant, workers wear colour-coded hats to indicate their role: blue is for technical jobs, while pink is for quality control, for example. On the shop floor, there are whiteboards with photos of each member of staff, showing pie charts and other data on their performance. And each day, workers stick a smiley on other whiteboards to let their colleagues know what mood they're in — happy, normal or unhappy.
While the company is R&D-focused, it's trying to keep 30 percent of its manufacturing within the company, according to Gabor Schreck, director at the site. "We didn't have the capabilities in-house, and we're just building those now," he said. "We see manufacturing as a strategic value."
A recent restructuring at Huawei moved manufacturing from all of its divisions — carrier, enterprise, consumer and emerging business — to this site, where access is tightly restricted. "We didn't do devices here till very recently," Schreck said. The company plans to double the size of the facility and has started building on adjacent land.
About 10,000 people work here, in two shifts per day, and the company puts on about 15 buses to run people back to headquarters where necessary. "We don't expect a big jump in head count" with expansion, Schreck said, but noted that Huawei does take on agency staff to meet demand.
Image: Karen Friar