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TheStreet Open House

Did China's Huawei Chief Reveal Too Much?

BEIJING ( TheStreet) -- A Chinese executive often painted by Washington as a sinister Communist may have given his critics more fodder with an essay that's peppered with military references and compares his company to the tortoise who won the race.

Huawei Technologies' chief executive and founder Ren Zhengfei did not say identify the "hare" of his Aesop's Fables analogy, which appears as a "Letter from the CEO" essay with the company's 2013 financial report released this week.

But Ren may have had America in mind. He wrote in the rambling, 4,100-word essay that "surpassing U.S. companies and enjoying the ride" is a goal for the company, which is already the world's largest telecom equipment maker and is expanding into smartphones.

For years Huawei  has been effectively barred from American markets by U.S. lawmakers who fear the company's gear could be used for spying. Critics note that Ren is a former People's Liberation Army officer.

Ren's Chinese military past apparently inspired a proposal cited in his essay to create a new management scheme based on "major general company commanders."

He also wrote, "Pyramid-styled management was right for mechanized warfare in the past, in which the cannon shot was near and communications systems not advanced.... In modern warfare, however, because powerful long-range weaponry is available, operations are carried out using satellites, broadband, Big Data, missiles, airplanes, aircraft carriers, and a lot more."

Privately held Huawei, which reported a 34% jump in year-on-year net profits in 2013 to US3.47 billion, competes globally except in a few countries including the United States and Australia against Sweden's Ericsson (ERIC), Cisco (CSCO) and Alcatel-Lucent (ALU).

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