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[BEIJING] Huawei Technologies Co forgave more than 4,000 workers, including senior executives, who were involved in corruption and fraudulent business practices, the company's founder said.
Ren Zhengfei said at the World Economic Forum that employees "came up with fake numbers so they could get good business results."
Better internal policing is required as the company experiences rapid growth, he said, projecting a 20 per cent increase in sales this year to US$56 billion.
"The biggest enemy is not others, it's ourselves," Ren, Huawei's chief executive officer and deputy chairman, said in Davos. "We want to achieve consistency between accounts and business in the next five years because we cannot achieve that consistency today."
Some employees also were terminated for participating in corruption and falsifying data, a Huawei spokesman, Joe Kelly, said later without supplying the number.
"There are a lot of things we have to work on to improve our corporate governance," Mr Ren said. "There are challenges around Huawei for corruption. That is a challenge for private companies. We cannot stop growing our business for the fear of corruption."
Mr Ren established Huawei in 1987 after retiring from the Chinese military in 1983, building the company into China's largest maker of equipment for phone networks. Along the way, he's battled accusations that the company's gear could allow Chinese intelligence services access for spying.9
Closely held Huawei has denied the allegations, yet its access to developed markets such as the US and Australia is limited.
Mr Ren on Thursday reiterated that Huawei is employee owned, with no shareholding by China's government or military, and that the company has never received a government request to spy.
"We are a Chinese company," Mr Ren said. "We definitely advocate the Communist Party of China. We love our country. Having said that, we definitely will not compromise the interest of any other country or government. We comply with laws and regulations in every country we do business in."
With some developed markets not open to sales of its network equipment, Mr Ren has overseen the expansion of the company into smartphones and tablet computers, as well as business- computing products and cloud-based services.
The company, based in Shenzhen, is working toward a goal announced in April of achieving US$70 billion in sales by 2018.
Huawei's sales increased about 20 per cent to at least 287 billion yuan (US$46 billion) last year, from 239 billion yuan in 2013, Chief Financial Officer Cathy Meng, who is Mr Ren's daughter, said Jan 13.
Revenue growth was led by a 32 per cent increase in consumer business, driven by the increasing popularity of its mid- to high-end phones, Mr Meng said then. Sales at the unit providing cloud computing and data projects to businesses climbed 27 per cent.