在今年的巴塞罗那移动通信世界大会（Mobile World Congress）上，华为（Huawei）以浩大阵势出席，令人难以忽视。每位与会者一下飞机，映入眼帘的就是这个中国电信巨头的电子广告。到了会场，华为的大型展台不是一个，而是两个——其中一个展示面向消费者的华为手机和平板电脑，另一个展示面向各运营商的华为电信设备。华为还在加大力气宣传一款新设备——Ascend P2，宣称它是“全球速度最快的智能手机”。
Huawei's massive presence at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona couldn't be missed. Conference-goers were greeted with the Chinese telecom giant's electronic ads as soon as they stepped off the plane in the Spanish city. The company set up not one but two sprawling booths at the show -- the first to showcase its line of consumer handsets and tablets, and the other to display its telecom equipment products for carrier customers. The company also made a big splash with a new device, the Ascend P2, which it touted as the "world's fastest smartphone."
But for all of the noise Huawei made at this year's mobile confab, many -- particularly in the North American market -- remain skeptical about the company's ability to hook consumers, effectively compete with heavyweights like Apple (AAPL) and Samsung, and get past the U.S. government's efforts to block it from selling network infrastructure equipment to local carriers. And, despite its claims of openness and transparency, Huawei's corporate structure remains obscure. (The company's founder, Ren Zhengfei, never talks to the media; its three "rotating CEOs" shift power every six months.) In a rare interview, Huawei's acting CEO Guo Ping sat down with Fortune at Mobile World Congress to discuss the company's recent product launches, its unusual leadership arrangement, and its global ambitions -- U.S. market included. Here is an excerpt of the conversation, which was conducted with the help of an interpreter:
Your leadership structure is unusual. How does it work?
I think first of all I can introduce to you how we came to this system of rotating. I remember that in 2004 Mercer [a New York-based consulting firm] helped us establish our executive management team [EMT]. Their initial proposal was that Mr. Ren would be the chair of the EMT. However, Mr. Ren did not want to work like that and he did not want to take such a chair position. He wanted the other members to rotate and chair the EMT. So that's what we did from 2004 to last year. So in the past there used to be eight people rotating as chair of EMT, and now in 2012 three people became the rotating CEO. There are two major responsibilities if you are a rotating acting CEO. Number one is he or she is responsible for the financial results and number two is to take the lead in emergencies or crisis handling. The other seven people [on the EMT] make collective decisions as a team, for promotion of high-level managers or changes in salary structures. And after one's term as a rotating CEO, he or she will still be in this seven-person team and participate in this collective decision-making.
So is every decision consensus driven?
For different matters there are different mechanisms to make decisions. There are some matters where the rotating active CEO can make decisions by themselves and there are some matters where if the majority agrees they can pass. And there are also some other matters that need to be submitted to the board for approval. So we have the all hands meeting for the board every month. And these seven people [from the EMT] are also members of the board.
Whose responsibility is it to set the vision of the company? Is that Mr. Ren's role?
Mr. Ren will be present in every month's board meeting. He is a member of the board. But he's not among the seven-person decision-making team. So when we had the business objectives and business plan for 2013, they needed to be approved by the board. So there are different obligations and authority for the board, for the seven-person decision-making team and also for the rotating CEO.