Huawei Australia announces new CEO

The new CEO of Huawei Australia has been tasked with driving global and local 5G and IoT leadership.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Huawei Australia has announced appointing a new CEO for local operations, with Huang Ji moving from his position of head of global human resources for Huawei in an effort to push 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) projects locally.

Huang, also called George Huang, has been with Huawei since 1996, also previously serving as head of Huawei's Nanjing and Indian research and development (R&D) centres, president of Huawei's consumer software product line, president of the global device cloud business unit, and VP of human resources for the Middle East region.

"With extensive experience across a range of diverse markets, the board is confident George will drive further success in Australia," Huawei Australia chairman John Lord said.

"George will be focused on highlighting Huawei's global 5G and IoT leadership in the local marketplace, growing the Enterprise business in the mining, transport, and other industry sectors, and elevating the Huawei consumer device brand."

Huawei said the appointment was part of its global practice of rotating executives across countries "to enable innovation and drive performance in the local market".

"The Australian market provides strong opportunities for us in the carrier and enterprise sectors. We will persist on our 4.5G and 5G journey and keep delivering innovative ICT solutions," Huang said.

"We will continue to share our global knowledge and experience to build a better connected Australia."

Huang is replacing James Zhao, who has headed up Huawei's Australian operations since February 2014 apart from a brief period between March and May last year, when Aragon Meng served as CEO for just two months before stepping down.

Huawei's Australian business last year recorded AU$19.5 million in pre-tax profit, marginally higher than in 2015, but its profit after tax fell from AU$14.1 million to AU$12.1 million due mainly to higher expenses across income tax, distribution, and administration. Its income tax expenses rose from AU$4.5 million to AU$7.5 million between 2015 and 2016.

Revenue for the calendar year was AU$673.3 million, up by 5 percent year on year. This marked a slowdown in Huawei's Australian revenue gains; in the year prior, revenue had increased by 32.7 percent.

A breakdown of its 2016 revenue saw the sale of goods fall by 11 percent to AU$446.3 million, while services rose by 25 percent to AU$144.7 million and revenue from construction more than tripled, from AU$26.9 million to AU$82.4 million.

ZDNet had previously revealed that during 2016, the Chinese networking giant removed research as a cost for local businesses by restructuring the company's policy on R&D, with all R&D spend now coming from Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen.

Huawei Technologies Australia spent just AU$81,000 on research throughout 2016, after spending AU$8.3 million in 2015 and AU$10.1 million in 2014.

"There was been a change of policy, with HQ managing all R&D costs globally," Huawei told ZDNet.

"Huawei Australia continues to invest in innovation, including through the National Innovation and Training Centre in Sydney, the IoT lab with James Cook University in Cairns, and with our carrier and enterprise partners."

While Huawei Australia provided the equipment and technology for its NB-IoT research lab at James Cook University in Queensland, the cash injected into the research projects came directly from HQ.

Huawei has since also helped launch a testing and certification facility in Australia for NB-IoT devices, monitors, and sensors under an agreement between James Cook University and Enex TestLab.

The JCU-Enex TestLab agreement is "supported by Huawei", the Chinese networking giant said, with the testing and certification centre to be established on JCU's campus in Cairns, Far North Queensland. Huawei will be providing the equipment and support to set up the lab, but won't partake in the testing or certification process.

Globally, Huawei spent 76.4 billion yuan on R&D during 2016, which amounted to 14.6 percent of its total revenue.

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