Sun Yafang, Chair Huawei Technologies

Huawei Technologies’ Chair Sun Yafang is one of those leaders whose power seems to rise as time passes. From being Forbes’ 91st most powerful woman in 2012, she has now taken the 77th spot in Forbes’ 2013 list.

Sun Yafang, Huawei's Chairperson

Sun Yafang, Huawei’s Chairperson

And why not? If only for Huawei’s influence of being the world’s number 2 telecomm network equipment maker and the 3rd largest smartphone maker, Sun Yafang would undoubtedly always make the power list.

Yet what has she really done aside from just being the Chairperson of Huawei?

Well, well… did you know that Huawei was still a small local enterprise when Sun joined the company in 1989? Then when she became its chairperson in 1999, through her leadership, the company has now grown to be a global giant providing innovative network solutions and services to telecomm operators worldwide – and it did not happen like just a flash in the pan.

In Huawei’s early years of trying to go global, it encountered challenges especially in cultural differences and language barriers; but because of Sun’s transformation of the company’s marketing and sales division as well as its human resources leadership development, Huawei is now the giant that it is.

So, where does the innovative solutions come from? Marketing? Sales? HR? Nothing to do.

Instead, it really starts with research and development. Yes, and the maximization of the country’s cheap labor coupled with critical government support in terms of finance packages. Once product development has been systemized, in comes marketing.

As Sun Yafang was quoted, “Ultra-broadband and fiber-based broadband are the core trend of broadband development in future. High-definition video and on-demand service are consumers’ requirements for better experience. Since huge investment is the challenge for broadband development, it is our great mission for the next decade to reduce the CAPEX of broadband infrastructure and provide the broadband services in a fast manner.”

To date, Huawei is serving 45 of the planet’s 50 biggest network operators, and more than one third of the world’s population. In 2011, Huawei reached $31.54 billion in sales, and with total assets of $30.7 billion. So, who wouldn’t become a power with such?

As Chairperson, more than representing Huawei in the business community as well as commitments with governments across the globe, Sun is especially a familiar figure among Huawei’s customers and partners – this is crucial when building and maintaining a global brand.

See, so she even received the World Telecommunication and Information Society Award from the International Telecommunication Union in May 2012.

Just wondered what corporate responsibility programs and philanthropic activities she’s involved with?

However, in spite of its successes, Huawei has yet to penetrate European markets as U.S. lawmakers have also urged companies to refrain from dealing with Huawei out of cyber-security concerns. This is both negative and positive for Huawei’s marketing. Negative, because, how come it has not found a way to breach European shores? Positive, well, because despite of not being able to access the Europeans – it’s still among the leaders in its industry. Okay, they come from the world’s most populous nation, but is it their fault then?

In all this, one can only see the value of relationships and how far effective communication can tow you – that’s Leadership. That’s Power.

What’s your take?