Huawei Technologies' pathway into the U.S. enterprise market has not been an easy one, given the security worries lawmakers here have voiced about the Chinese tech giant and, most recently, reports in The New York Times and elsewhere that the U.S. National Security Agency had hacked into the company's servers at its Shenzen, China, headquarters.
Despite all that, the company is seeing business boom, recently announcing that global sales in 2013 grew 8.6 percent from 2012, and profits hit a record $3.38 billion, with its enterprise business seeing a 32 percent revenue jump.
Company executives also brushed aside the NSA allegations, with Eric Xu, Huawei's rotating and current CEO, saying Huawei "maintained calm" and operated "business as usual" after the reports surfaced.
"If The New York Times report is true, I think we will have known about this long ago," Xu said, according to a report in Reuters.
Despite the turmoil, Huawei continues to extend its technology reach beyond its home country, and product revenue in the United States continues to grow. According to company figures, 65 percent of Huawei's revenues last year came from markets outside of China, and sales in the United States hit $13.8 billion, a 14.2 percent increase from 2012.
The company's numbers caught the attention of analysts. Simon Leopold, an analyst with Raymond James, wrote in a research note after the Huawei financial numbers were released that networking leader Cisco Systems and other vendors need to take note of Huawei.
"Competitors such as Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, and Nokia benefit from Huawei's strategic shift toward profitability over market share," Leopold wrote. "Furthermore, the geographic growth trends highlight the dynamic making it hard for western vendors to sell in China and Chinese vendors to sell in the U.S.
"We believe Huawei's rapid enterprise growth illustrates a growing challenge for Cisco. Western competitors fared less well, as Alcatel-Lucent's sales were flat, Cisco grew 1.3 percent, Ericsson was flat, and Nokia Siemens Networks (now Nokia Solutions and Networks) was down 18.2 percent," he wrote.
Huawei has been making a concentrated effort over the past three-plus years to push into the U.S. enterprise market with a range of offerings, from networking gear and solutions in software-defined networking (SDN) and network-function virtualization (NFV) to server, storage devices, video conferencing equipment and security products. The company has been hitting the big shows—from the SC '13 supercomputing show in November 2013 to the RSA Conference 2014 in February—to talk up its enterprise capabilities.
The company took that strategy to Interop Las Vegas this week, talking up its products and announcing new enterprise services and channel partners. It was the first time Huawei has showcased its entire U.S. product portfolio at a show, according to the company.
Having a presence at these conferences is paying off for Huawei, according to Jane Li, chief operating officer for Huawei Enterprise USA.
"Things are trending upwards for us … as the [U.S.] IT community becomes familiar with what Huawei is," Li told eWEEK. "Given the opportunity for us to tell our own story, things are looking a lot better."
At Interop, Huawei launched its Enterprise Services and Support offering, which includes 24/7 call center services, equipment delivery and technician support in the United States. It also announced its Certified Service Partner Program, designed to help enterprises and channel partners deploy and maintain Huawei's IT products.
The vendor also announced that online retailer Newegg is joining its enterprise channel program. Having a well-known company like Newegg in the fold helps Huawei not only in getting its name out to enterprise customers, but also expand deeper into the small and midsize business arena, Li said.