Kann China Konzerne auf Weltklasse-Niveau hervorbringen? Dieser frage geht der Economist nach: THE floor of the darkened room is strewn with mattresses and scattered shoes. Sleeping bodies stir under duvets. Nearby, others nap at their desks, heads on arms. It is a Friday afternoon at the headquarters of Huawei—one of China's most dynamic and ambitious companies and one of a handful, alongside Haier in white goods, Lenovo in personal computers, TCL in televisions and steelmaker Baosteel, whose names are starting to be heard around the world. The scene is reminiscent of a place on the other side of the globe: Silicon Valley at its most breathless, when programmers on the go “24/7” collapsed with exhaustion at their workstations. Huawei's astonishing campus on the outskirts of the southern city of Shenzhen is straight out of the technology bubble too, with four football fields, swimming pools, apartments for 3,000 families and a fantastical Disney-esque research centre with doric pillars and marbled interior. The hubris at Huawei, which makes telecoms equipment like routers and switches, is also vintage 1990s America. Hu Yong, a vice-president, is proud of being in more than 70 countries, that over 3,000 of the group's 24,000 employees are overseas nationals and that two-fifths of its more than $5 billion revenues in 2004 will be made outside China. “Are we a global player? Fortune magazine says that is when international sales exceed 20% of your total,” he says. “So the answer is yes.” ... Yet the true extent of Huawei's international reach is hard to gauge. Much of its overseas business is in emerging markets where there is little competition. ... The contradictions at Huawei are mirrored to some degree by all of the country's emerging multinationals and ultimately reflect those of China itself. The economy is still in transition between dirigisme and free markets. Its political system can harness enormous resources, but ultimately undermines its own objectives in a paranoid desire to retain control. ... the global footprint of Chinese companies is still rather faint. Their outward foreign direct investment was just $2.9 billion in 2003, compared with the more than $50 billion that flowed into the mainland.


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